Despite offering data plans that, on face value, are significantly cheaper than its rivals, consumers are not flocking to Telkom’s network, according to new report by Research ICT Africa.
The price of 1GB of data in South Africa from the “dominant” operators has remained consistent at between R149 and R160 for the past two years. Despite offering 1GB for R99, Telkom appears unable to exert pricing pressure on the other operators, the researchers said.
Research ICT Africa has, however, used headline prices that don’t take into account personalised offers provided to consumers through electronic channels, including USSD.
The research firm said the fact that consumers haven’t moved to Telkom en masse suggests that subscribers are not only concerned about the cost of going online, but that other factors such as network quality — coverage and speed — play a big role.
“As they transition from voice to data, mobile operators in South Africa have shifted their competition strategies to focus more on innovative bundled products, which offer subscribers a combination of data, voice minutes and SMSes,” Research ICT Africa said in its report.
“However, bundle pricing is becoming more complex and prices for mobile data in South Africa continue to be high. Furthermore, 1GB monthly data bundle prices have remained fairly constant over the last eight quarters — higher than 23 of the best-performing countries in Africa — except for Telkom.”
The firm said that according to its research, in the second quarter of 2017 South Africa placed last out of six of some of the most dynamic telecoms markets in Africa.
The cost of 1GB of data in South Africa is three times the cost of the same data amount in Ghana and Tanzania, and more than twice the cost of 1GB in Nigeria.
The operators in these countries that are offering low prices are Glo Mobile, Airtel and Smart.
Among Southern African countries, South Africa is ranked sixth behind Mozambique, Madagascar, Mauritius, Malawi and Namibia. The cheapest 1GB data bundle in South Africa is three times the cost of the cheapest 1GB available in Mozambique, it said. — (c) 2017 NewsCentral Media