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#DataMustFall: We are paying too much for data, analyst confirms

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Communications analyst Kerwin Lebone says the public outcry over exorbitant data costs and the launch of the #DataMustFall campaign is spot on — we are paying too much.

Radio personality and businessman Tbo Touch this week waged war against local networks when he initiated the social media campaign.

“How’s a 23-year-old ambitious entrepreneur supposed to market his business when Internet is the price of gold [?] #DataMustFall‚” Tbo Touch tweeted earlier on Thursday.

Lebone‚ of the Institute of Race Relations (IRR)‚ said that compared with countries in the Middle East‚ Europe‚ Asia and the Americas‚ data in South Africa is the most expensive.

“The first time we unearthed that information that’s what we thought. We should be on par with the rest of the world. We are absolutely with the public on this.

“What’s keeping prices up is uncompetitive behaviour by Telkom. Most of the high data charges are because service providers have to ‘rent’ spectrum from Telkom‚ which virtually owns all communications infrastructure in the country.

“In August of this year‚ Telkom threatened to sue Icasa (the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa) after the latter planned an auction of the spectrum so other service providers could offer affordable services to consumers‚” he said.

A research conducted by the IRR last year revealed that South Africans are paying a lot of money for slow connection speeds.

In 2015 the broadband download speed in South Africa was 7.0 megabits per second (Mbps). On average in 2015 South Africans spent $19 per Mbps on broadband monthly.

Here is how some of the other nations in the study fared:

– In Russia the broadband download speed was 29.6 Mbps in 2015; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $0.6.

– In Switzerland the broadband download speed was 44.7 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $3.3.

– In Hong Kong the broadband download speed was 27.2 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $3.4.

– In Israel the broadband download speed was 29.4 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $0.8.

– In Australia the broadband download speed was 16.0 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $7.6.

– In China the broadband download speed was 27.2 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $1.6.

– In Egypt the broadband download speed was 2.7 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $16.5.

– In Indonesia the broadband download speed was 6.5 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $17.2.

– In India the broadband download speed was 6.8 Mbps; the monthly average cost of broadband per Mbps was $8.7.

Botswana‚ Mozambique‚ Swaziland‚ Zimbabwe and other African countries have no recorded comparative information on monthly data costs‚ Lebone said.

Tbo Touch‚ who has given networks 30 days to make a change‚ said he will meet with the chairman of Icasa soon and has plans to create an alternative network if prices are not dropped.

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