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‘Cellphone companies must find solutions to reduce data costs’

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With ordinary South Africans constantly bemoaning the cost of cellphone data in South Africa, it was surprising to hear President Jacob Zuma express government’s commitment to lowering data costs during his 2017 State of the Nation Address last week.

Whilst this has been one of the priorities listed in the plans for the economy, little information was given as to how government envisages to ensure the lowering of data costs in the country. One organisation is taking the matter into their own hands and assisting consumers with lowering their everyday data usage.

Tariffic, assists consumers, including businesses with saving money on their cell-phone bills, where consumers are able to personalise a package based on how they use their cell-phones, while identifying possible abuse on the side of their network.

With regards to President Zuma’s discussion on the high data costs within South Africa, Tariffic chief executive officer, Antony Seeff, says following research in which the company compared South African data prices to similar countries, including BRICS countries, South Africa proved to have the second highest data prices – second to Brazil.

Commenting on the companies call for ‘DataMustFall’, Seeff says that while government’s interference is not necessary, there are tools at the disposable of government to assist in lowering the data prices.

“So there is a high demand spectrum that is available that hasn’t been released for the service providers for them to use; the more spectrum that is available – supply and demand – the cheaper the prices,” he noted.

He further urges the network operators to take matters into their own hands and see what they can do to ensure the lowering of data prices.

“It was quite interesting to see Vodacom’s latest results that came out a week [or so] ago, they said in the last quarter last year that revenue from data was up from 18.4 per cent to R6.5 billion – and yes I understand that in return they offering services and lay more infrastructure.”

With regards to services available that will assist consumers to lower their usage of data, Seeff states that Facebook has offered a number of less data intensive options for its platform, as well as the fact that certain networks have complimented the #FeesMustFall movement and offered free data to specific tertiary institutions.

For more information, visit VOC

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