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Stop ripping us off on data costs

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Every South African should be joining in the #DataMustFall protests

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THE #DataMustFall protests are long overdue and every South African should be joining in, either through petitions or actively taking part in pickets such as yesterday’s.

It is about time these money-grubbing network providers are taken to task for milking us dry. A recent report by Research ICT Africa has revealed that South African mobile network providers are fleecing their customers by charging dizzying rates for data.

The research paper says we pay much more than fellow mobile network users on the continent – in some cases we pay six times more than them.

For example, where we pay about R70 for 1GB, Tanzanians can get the same data for R11.86. How ridiculous is this?

As if that isn’t enough, unused data expires. You buy data, and if for some reason you’re unable to use it all within a specified period, it expires.

This is daylight robbery and has to be stopped.

People work very hard for their money and mobile network providers can’t be allowed to continue bullying us.

An effective way of protesting would be to boycott them.

But unfortunately our lives are so dependent on their networks that they are probably fleecing us on purpose, knowing we’ve got nowhere else to go.

The Right2Know campaign yesterday held pickets outside offices of the four network providers, demanding action to ensure data and airtime costs are affordable to all.

In their memorandum they called for the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to regulate the cost of airtime and data.

Icasa bosses agree the prices are unjustifiable; this they told Parliament last month.

Icasa acting chief executive Willington Ngwepe announced the Competition Commission was already investigating if there was collusion in the industry.

The probe is expected to be concluded by August next year.

We can only hope the findings will be beneficial to South Africans, who are at their wits’ end with these network providers.