Botswana has the most expensive 500mb prepaid data bundles compared to other countries in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region; with its cheapest, average and highest price at R26.95, a report by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has revealed.
ICASA findings were published in a report analysing the tariff plans offered by mobile operators in Botswana. ICASA also looked at and compared the 500MB, 1GB and 2GB package prices in each SADC country. According to the data, Botswana came out the most expensive for data, with the average consumer coughing up an average of R26.95 per 500MB data.
Surprisingly, the report concluded that South Africa does not enjoy the cheapest rates, after all! At R4.89 per 1 GB data bundle, it was found to be the sixth cheapest out of 15 countries. By comparison, Botswana’s most expensive 1GB data bundle would cost a customer a whopping R12.79!
According to the report, Mozambique has the lowest 500MB prepaid data bundles in the SADC region, with an average of R0.83.
“Botswana’s highest 500MB prepaid data bundle is, therefore, more expensive than SA’s data bundle by 241.1 percent.” the report says.
It says Zimbabwe has the most expensive 1GB prepaid data bundles for the average and the highest data price categories at R26.11 and R30 respectively, compared to other countries in SADC. The DRC has the cheapest 1GB prepaid data bundles across all three categories at R1.29 within the SADC region. SA’s most expensive 1GB of data (priced at R12.04) is lower than that of its neighbouring countries, Zimbabwe and Swaziland, which are R30 and R20.02, respectively. Lesotho’s highest 1GB data bundle price would cost a customer R7.53 and this is relatively lower than the SA price by 37.5 percent.
In the highest price category, the report says, Zimbabwe has the most expensive 2GB data bundle at R50. This is 155.5 percent higher than SA’s highest price of R19.57 for a 2GB data bundle. Seychelles’ 2GB prepaid data bundle is priced at R47.17 across all three categories. DRC has the cheapest 2GB prepaid data bundle price at R1.03, while Mozambique’s average price for a 2GB data bundle is the lowest across the average prices in the SADC region at R3.38.
South Africa does not have the most expensive prepaid data bundle prices for the 500MB, 1GB and 2GB in the SADC region. However, it is also not the cheapest; its prices are below the average price of all the SADC prices across the categories. Botswana has the highest price for 500MB data bundle in the SADC region. Zimbabwe has the most expensive prices in the highest prices category for both 1GB and 2GB data bundles in the SADC region at R30 and R50 respectively.
ICASA said the benchmarking in the report is part of the comprehensive study that the authority has done as part of its regulatory initiatives towards addressing data price concerns raised during the #datamustfall campaign. In addition to the benchmarking, the authority is currently working on various regulatory initiatives to address calls for a reduction in costs to communicate, particularly data prices. The initiatives include collaborative partnerships with other regulatory bodies, i.e. the National Consumer Commission and the Competition Commission to find ways in which data costs can be further reduced for the benefit of consumers.