New Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig has told the department of communications’ policy colloquium in Midrand, which is taking place on Thursday and Friday this week, that the cost of accessing the Internet in SA needs to be cut in half.
He lamented the telecommunications industry’s “failure” to offer the “best broadband in terms of quality, speed and price”.
“In the early 1970s, SA was rated number five in the world [in telecoms] or certainly in the top 10. We were certainly number one in Africa [but] we are now 73rd in the world and going backward. And we are no longer number one in Africa.”
Knott-Craig told the colloquium that he thinks broadband prices in SA should be half of what they are today – despite the fact that he believes SA’s telecoms prices are “good”.
“Our world in 2030 will be a data world where data is the medium for everything,” he said. “Will voice have completely disappeared? We’ll have to wait and see [but] cost, speed and quality of data will be critical.”
Knott-Craig said the industry will have to collaborate with government if costs are to be lowered and quality improved. This will include avoiding duplication of infrastructure in rural areas and reducing cost structures in the industry, which he says are “way too high”.
“We need to allocate resources in a way that drives costs down [and] encourages and enhances competition in a way that actually results in competition and leads to lower prices.”
Joking, Knott-Craig said he was a “newcomer to the industry”.
“I have been away from the industry for a while,” he said. “I got back to the industry and found not much had changed.”
He said operators needed to admit that the “race for market” share was “done”.
“We are in a different stage of our lives. We have to drive costs down and accept that data is the way forward and that speed, price and quality is what will make it happen for us — or not.” — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media