Despite Reduction in Mobile Data Tariffs, Data Still Expensive in South Africa

This policy brief presents the data tariffs which have been reduced by MTN and Vodacom in South Africa from R149 per one GB to R99 per GB with effect from 1 April 2020. The two companies reduced data prices in response to the Competition Commission’s threat of prosecution and not, as the impression may have been created, as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to lack of regulation and an inherently imperfect market, even after the reduction, prices remain anti-poor. The price reduction also does not provide any relief to the nearly half of South Africans that remain offline. Any strategy to reduce prices has to be accompanied by one to bring the unconnected online.