MTN and Vodacom have been slammed for their high data costs by the Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF), celebrities and consumers on social media. The EFF tweeted: “We support the DataMustFall campaign because telecommunications is a basic right like education and health. It impacts on development.”
They accused the cellphone giants of exploiting South African customers, adding: “South African companies MTN and Vodacom are selling cheaper data in other countries and more expensive in their home country.”
Social media users shared memes which claimed that 1GB of mobile data costs R11 in India, R22 in Nigeria, R32 in Namibia and a whopping R149 in South Africa.
Afrihost capitalised on the moment by launching a competition giving away 5GB of free data. Afrihost boasted: “While our Mobile data prices are already excellent value, we think we can offer everyone a bit more. You could say that the DataMustFall movement has moved us, so we’re super excited to say that we’re bringing a solid revolution to the people!
“Over the next week, running all the way up to Friday 23 September, we’re running a competition where you can stand a chance to WIN some Mobile data! We’re giving away 5GB of Prepaid Mobile data worth R395, and is valid for 12 months, every hour between 12:00 and 16:00, Monday – Friday. That’s 4 winners per day!” To find out more, click here.
30 Days to change
Meanwhile, outspoken radio jockey and businessman Tbo Touch, who is spearheading the DataMustFall campaign, is calling on the telecommunications companies in South Africa to change their tariffs within 30 days. He called their tariffs a ‘rip off’ and has asked the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to intervene.
Parliament presented with findings
The campaign has already caught the attention of Parliament and The Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal services will this week (20 and 21 September), host public hearings on the cost to communicate. The hearings will start at 9am tomorrow and end at 5pm.
During this two-day event, the Committee will receive presentations from industry players including mobile network operators, research institutions, students, non-governmental organisations (NGOs), internet service providers and, Small, Medium and Micro Enterprises (SMMEs).
Touch has invited members of the public to offer comment and provide information for his presentation, which according to Htxt Africa, he hasn’t finalised yet.
Earlier this year, Justmoney wrote about reports on excessive data bills and offered tips on reducing data usage, click here.
Back in 2014 Justmoney compared data charges, for more click here.
*Justmoney has approached MTN, Vodacom and Icasa for comment.