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'SA has Africa’s cheapest postpaid data prices'

By , IT in government editor
South Africa , 31 Jul 2013

'SA has Africa’s cheapest postpaid data prices'

South Africa has among the cheapest postpaid broadband packages in Africa, according to a study conducted by Research ICT Africa (RIA).

In an RIA’s policy brief titled ‘How do mobile and fixed broadband stack up in SA?’, the organisation says that compared to 12 African nations, South Africa has the cheapest 1GB postpaid mobile broadband basket at an average price of $9.81 per month.

Meanwhile, East Africa’s Tanzania and Kenya are placed second and third, with 1GB postpaid broadband data packages respectively costing $10.17 and $10.81 each in the two nations.

And in Ghana a 1GB postpaid broadband option costs $10.92, placing the West African nation in fourth position on the list of countries with the cheapest baskets.

RIA executive director, Alison Gillwald, tells ITWeb Africa that the RIA conducted their study by analysing postpaid, prepaid and fixed data packages telecom firms among the selected African countries.

In terms of studying these African countries’ postpaid data markets, Gillwald says the RIA took 24 month broadband contracts into consideration. And with regard to the postpaid, prepaid and fixed packages, the likes of installation fees, modem or router costs, and the cost of a landline are all included in the study, Gillwald says.

Subsequently, South Africa has performed well in certain aspects of the RIA study.

“Due to a relatively high number of postpaid customers (in South Africa) compared to other African countries, competitive forces in this market segment have pushed mobile operators (in South Africa) to reduce postpaid broadband prices,” the study explains.

And it’s not just in the 1GB postpaid broadband range that South Africa has competitive prices on the continent.

In the 5GB postpaid broadband basket, the southern African country also has the second cheapest offering after Nigeria. In South Africa a 5GB mobile postpaid basket costs $21.80 per month, according to the RIA.

Tanzania, meanwhile, comes in at number three in this broadband package range as its average offering for a 5GB postpaid package costs $28.94 monthly. And in Ghana, a 5GB basket costs up to $30.97 per month.

However, South Africa fails to compare favourably in the prepaid broadband space.

The RIA study says South Africa is ranked only fourth in the 1GB prepaid broadband sub-index when it comes to the cheapest packages in this range among 12 African nations.

“South Africa’s 1GB mobile prepaid basket costs three times more than the same basket in Ghana,” according to the study.

In South Africa a 1GB mobile prepaid option costs up to $11.32 per month whereas in Ghana the same package costs $3.72, says the RIA.

When it comes to the 5GB prepaid baskets, however, South Africa rates better than similar baskets in several other African countries. The study places SA in second position with the cheapest offering after Tanzania in this category.

For a 5GB prepaid basket, a customer typically pays $22.47 in South Africa and only pay $13.30 in the East African nation, according to the RIA.

The research group adds that South African mobile operators are moving to grow their high data and bandwidth usage markets, which is resulting in prices being competitive especially in the 5GB range.

“South Africa’s prepaid 5G basket rates well, coming in cheaper than similar baskets in several other African countries,” reads the study.

But the study says South Africa rates poorly in the pricing of fixed-line ADSL broadband, as the country ranks sixth in the 1GB ADSL postpaid basket sub-index with prices reaching $42.15 per month.

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