Briefing Paper

Dominant Operators’ Data Prices Remain Static while SA Struggles to Get and Stay Online

Almost half of South Africans (47%) over the age of 15 years do not use the Internet. After collecting information on the access and use of ICTs in nine African countries, the Survey identifies the affordability of devices and data services as the main barriers to Internet access and use in South Africa. Close to 36 percent of non-Internet users in the country indicate that they cannot afford
Internet-enabled devices, such as smartphones, and 15 percent state that the Internet is too expensive for them. This policy brief provides an assessment of data prices and operator strategies in
South Africa compared to other markets in Africa. RIA’s African Mobile Pricing (RAMP) Index , an index for prepaid mobile baskets of data and a voice/SMS mixture , provides evidence that data prices are indeed unaffordable to the poor. To capture the dynamism of product and service offerings in Africa’s prepaid mobile markets, RIA introduced new bundles in Q1 2018.