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SA’s lower data costs a boon for mobile gaming says Ekasi Esports

The cost of mobile data in South Africa is in welcome decline and anecdotal evidence suggests mobile gaming is experiencing unprecedented growth.

That’s according to local gaming firm Ekasi Esports which says the fact that South Africa climbed from 148th to 136th place in 2020, based on the price of a Gig of mobile data, is good news for the country’s 11 million gamers.

Ekasi Esports references UK price comparison website Cable.co.uk and says according to this site, in May last year, one gigabyte of mobile data cost R88.

By the end of the year, the price had dropped to R39 with South Africa cheaper than the US, Canada and New Zealand. SA’s mobile data cost is now on par with Germany and Japan, adds the gaming company.

“The plunging cost of participating in mobile gaming and esports, which do not depend on expensive gaming PCs or consoles, has not gone unnoticed by the country’s township youth who are flocking to digital entertainment like never before,” says Perfect Zikhali, Creative Director for Ekasi Esports.

However, South African mobile data still has some way to go before becoming a contender for the top spot in affordability which is currently occupied by Israel where a gig of data costs just five US cents.

An ITWeb report referred to the Cable.co.uk’s latest Worldwide Mobile Data Pricing 2021 research.

The research measures the average cost of 1GB of mobile data in 230 countries and confirms South Africa’s ranking.

The report notes the average price of 1GB of mobile data in SA is $2.67 (R39), the most expensive price is $34.95 (R509) and the cheapest is $0.12 (R1.75). The global average is $4.07 (R59).

Zikhali explains that his company regularly sees over-subscription when it announces it weekly online gaming tournaments.

The gaming company believes initiatives by the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to reduce the cost to communicate are bearing fruit and further mobile data price reductions can be expected as progress continues with the assignment of spectrum suitable for mobile data services.

“The current pandemic has demonstrated that remote access to affordable high-speed data boosts real-world quality of life and underscores the gap between the connectivity-haves and connectivity-have-nots. Cheaper mobile data is opening up a lot of opportunities for African mobile gamers to compete at a world-class level,” says Zikhald.

Ekasi Esports adds that the global gaming industry has exploded under lockdown when it was already the third most popular entertainment genre in the world after books and gambling. 

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