The movement even sparked interest in Parliament, where Vodacom was criticised for its exorbitant data prices. Chairperson of Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services, Mmamoloko Kubayi, reportedly said that telecoms operators have a month to “get their act together” or the National Assembly will instruct them to decrease data prices.
Some #DataMustFall campaigners have been quoting comparative prices of 1GB of data in India, Nigeria, and Namibia to the mainstream media. However, MyBroadband reports suggest that the prices quoted are misleading the public because, although South Africa’s mobile data is still somewhat expensive compared to India, Nigeria, and Namibia, the figures quoted are distorting the facts.
Former Vodacom executive, Romeo Kumalo, commented that, although data prices should be brought down, market dynamics are very different: “I think it’s very simplistic to say‚ ‘Well‚ 1GB is so much in Nigeria‚ it should be same in SA’. There’s interest rates‚ the economy‚ the infrastructure… there’s a lot of factors you’ve got to take into account before you can determine pricing.”
When addressing the Telecommunications and Postal Services Committee at Parliament, MTN said the price of their data has decreased by 73 percent over the past 14 years, and called on government to release more spectrum to support the growing data market.