Vodacom and the Competition Commission have reached a settlement agreement over data prices.
The commission has invited the media to a press conference on Tuesday in Pretoria at which details of the settlement will be announced. A Vodacom spokesman declined to comment ahead of Tuesday’s announcement.
In December, the commission unveiled surprisingly broad-ranging, tough and radical interventions in the data services market, including a controversial proposal that mobile operators be forced to give South Africans a free allocation of daily data.
This followed the regulator’s inquiry into the data services market in South Africa.
Competition commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele said at the time that the operators, including Vodacom, had three months to reach an agreement with the commission.
Beyond the lifeline data, the commission said Vodacom and MTN must immediately reduce prices, with Bonakele arguing this could be between 30% and 50%.
“Failure to reach this agreement within two months will lead the commission to consider prosecution for excessive pricing or other exclusionary abuses,” he said at the time.
Vodacom and MTN must also independently reach an agreement with the commission, also within two months, on the reduction of headline prices of all 500MB 30-day prepaid data bundles to reflect same cost per megabyte of 500MB 30-day bundles on post-paid or contract plans.
In addition, Vodacom and MTN must reach an agreement with the commission to cease practices that may facilitate price discrimination against the poor; all mobile operators must reach an agreement with the commission within three months on a consistent, industry-wide approach to zero-rating content for public benefit organisations and similar entities; all mobile operators must reach agreement with the commission within three months to inform each subscriber on a monthly basis on the effective price of all data consumed by such a customer; and Telkom’s wholesale business Openserve must reach an agreement with the commission on substantial price reductions for IPConnect.
IPConnect is the service bought by Internet service providers to access Openserve’s wholesale network made up of ADSL and fibre lines. — (c) 2020 NewsCentral Media