South Africa has the highest data prices among Africa’s biggest economies

 ·18 Jul 2017
MTN Cell C Vodacom Telkom

A new research paper by Research ICT Africa shows that the price of data in South Africa has not changed over the past two years – and is the most expensive out of all leading African economies.

South Africa’s mobile data prices have come under constant attack in recent months, with targeted social media campaigns like #DataMustFall drawing attention to the high prices local operators charge.

The price of 1GB in South Africa from South Africa’s two largest mobile operators – MTN and Vodacom – have flatlined at around R150 since 2014.

In 2016, MTN’s price per GB increased to R160, while Telkom has been the only operator to make any downward adjustment to its prices, now pricing at R99 per GB.

According to Research ICT Africa, even at a price point of R99, Telkom has not been able to exert price pressure on the two biggest players, who still dominate the market.

This shows that consumers are willing to pay a premium for coverage and speed – as both MTN and Vodacom have the widest and fastest networks.

However, this cuts out almost half the South African population, who are too poor to get internet access.

Looking at the RIA’s Africa Mobile Price (RAMP) Index, South Africa’s cheapest 1GB package (from Telkom) ranks as the 25th most expensive on the continent (out of 49 countries).

Put into context of the top 6 biggest African markets, South Africa’s data prices are by far the most expensive – charging $7.60 per GB, compared to the second most expensive, Kenya, at $4.90 per GB.

Egypt’s cheapest 1GB package is just $1.20 – the cheapest of the big six countries.

Read: SA mobile subscribers in 2017: Vodacom vs MTN vs Cell C vs Telkom

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