What you are not told about mobile data prices

Jamie McKane

MyBroadband Journalist
Super Moderator
Joined
Mar 2, 2016
Messages
3,860
#1
What you are not told about mobile data prices

High mobile data prices in South Africa are making headlines with politicians, the public, and regulators putting pressure on operators to make mobile Internet access more affordable.

To make Internet access more affordable, and therefore more accessible, is indeed a noble quest and should be supported.
 

DTBA

Expert Member
Joined
Nov 27, 2011
Messages
4,121
#2
Are we not told that the more coverage they get, they can bring down prices.

Also stuff like LTE wil help more with congestion then 3G and they can drop prices as well?
 

Joseph matane

Well-Known Member
Joined
Feb 7, 2017
Messages
200
#3
This article just swift blame it paint MTN as a saint only what about unfair practice like stealing data from us and claim is because the network is super fast e.g MTN night data runs out wi
Are we not told that the more coverage they get, they can bring down prices.

Also stuff like LTE wil help more with congestion then 3G and they can drop prices as well?
They say so but no change in fact MTN and Vodacom must stop presenting promo data in financial statements because not everyone is getting same deal, so claim that data price is decreasing is half baked, Vodacom just4you has been running for years but those offers are not permanent yet in fact if they see lot of subscribers buy certain offer alot they increase prices or suddenly the offer disappear, so how is this fair
 

DXL

Expert Member
Joined
Aug 15, 2006
Messages
1,149
#4
This article just swift blame it paint MTN as a saint only what about unfair practice like stealing data from us and claim is because the network is super fast e.g MTN night data runs out wi

They say so but no change in fact MTN and Vodacom must stop presenting promo data in financial statements because not everyone is getting same deal, so claim that data price is decreasing is half baked, Vodacom just4you has been running for years but those offers are not permanent yet in fact if they see lot of subscribers buy certain offer alot they increase prices or suddenly the offer disappear, so how is this fair
I thought this was a paid for infomercial for MTN. :)
Good Infomercial I must say.

This whole article gets thrown out of the window when you look at Jio's 4G network in India.

https://www.jio.com/

If Jio can do it everyone can do it.
 

Mista_Mobsta

Senior Member
Joined
Jan 22, 2015
Messages
756
#7
I thought this was a paid for infomercial for MTN. :)
Good Infomercial I must say.

This whole article gets thrown out of the window when you look at Jio's 4G network in India.

https://www.jio.com/

If Jio can do it everyone can do it.
Not to try and defend the high prices in SA operators are charging BUT India has a much higher population density than SA has overall. CAPEX used in India goes much further than CAPEX in SA which allows the companies to recoup their investment a lot quicker than in SA.

That being said, I liked the article, be it MTN biased, as it was supported with some facts and figures and makes people think a bit more
 

Jan

Drifting in the black
Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
4,604
#9
This whole article gets thrown out of the window when you look at Jio's 4G network in India. If Jio can do it everyone can do it.
The comparison to Jio illustrates to me the dangers of trying to argue what we should pay in SA based on what people pay elsewhere in the world.

Not that such benchmarking is useless, but the comparison should include context.

Jio was launched by one of the richest men in the world. Reliance put up $33 billion to launch Jio, and basically gave away 4G-capable phones for free to get people on the network. (https://www.forbes.com/sites/naazne...-33-billion-bet-on-indias-digital-revolution/)

To the argument of coverage and performance. It seems our networks still outperform the ones in India, for now --- https://www.indiatimes.com/technolo...t-4g-speeds-best-netwrok-in-india-345733.html

You can take a risk like Jio in India because the economies of scale there allow it. They are over 1.3 billion people. We are around 60 million. In the first year of operations, Jio managed to get nearly 187 million subscribers on its network. (https://jep-asset.akamaized.net/jio/press-release/Jio-Media-Release-4Q+FY-17-18.pdf)

With scale like that you can do things other operators can only dream of.
 

rpm

Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2003
Messages
64,526
#11
Who paid for this advertisement?
I wish we got paid. It took a rather long time to pen this one :)

I am keen to hear opposing arguments based on financial figures like CAPEX and EBITDA margin. If we agree that a company should not run at a loss, we can start to argue on how to achieve lower data prices without harming profitability.

Hence, will increased usage compensate for the loss of revenue with lower data prices? Are the EBIDTA margins too high, and if so, what should it be? Should these companies increase efficiency, or possibly stop network investments.

To just say "cut prices" sounds nice, but that can be done for any product in the country. If that is the only argument, can we start with cutting the price of a BMW X5 to R50,000 ;)
 

rpm

Admin
Staff member
Joined
Jul 22, 2003
Messages
64,526
#12
I don't care what reasons are. I just know it is expensive.
I think this is a valid point. It does indeed feel expensive - similar to the price for a Rolls Royce or a Porsche. The more accurate question is whether it is expensive for what you get.

There are many alternatives - Telkom, Rain, and Cell C. Why not just use them?
 

gerrys

New Member
Joined
Jun 30, 2015
Messages
3
#13
The Elephant in the room is?

Your argument is based on MTN and Voda having capacity - How do you personally actually know what capacity MTNs network is running at? If you do please share it.

Changing network behaviour at night has nothing to do with the daytime distribution network and actually contradicts your excess capacity argument.

How do the per capita costs compare with other countries such as Europe or Aus?

You omit to point out how many years MTN and Vodacom ran without other competitors and coined it.

Both SPs have pushed hard against mobile VPNs over their data networks in anti-competitive behavior and have made it non routable inbound unless you get their "unrestricted" APNs that 99% of the population is unaware of.

Just look at the CEOs of both fat cats salaries and bonuses to know what profits they are making.

In any event the ever extending prevalence of WiFi and Mobile Voip will prove that the Mobile push as in 3g/4g/5g access is going to have a serious challenge.
 

RedViking

Nord of the South
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
Messages
18,589
#14
I wish we got paid. It took a rather long time to pen this one :)

I am keen to hear opposing arguments based on financial figures like CAPEX and EBITDA margin. If we agree that a company should not run at a loss, we can start to argue on how to achieve lower data prices without harming profitability.

Hence, will increased usage compensate for the loss of revenue with lower data prices? Are the EBIDTA margins too high, and if so, what should it be? Should these companies increase efficiency, or possibly stop network investments.

To just say "cut prices" sounds nice, but that can be done for any product in the country. If that is the only argument, can we start with cutting the price of a BMW X5 to R50,000 ;)
Just the last bit is a bad comparison. You can get a different car for R40 000.

Mobile data there is only one option. You don't have a choice (unless you are in the 1% with an alternative option) .
 

Lupus

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 25, 2006
Messages
14,574
#15
Economics of scale do play a big role in most of the pricing in SA. Our population isn't really that big, which means our spending isn't that large either, they are also being held up by restrictions in spectrum thanks to the 15 years we've waited to turn off the old analogue signals.
 

LazyLion

King of de Jungle
Joined
Mar 17, 2005
Messages
101,604
#16
I wish we got paid. It took a rather long time to pen this one :)

I am keen to hear opposing arguments based on financial figures like CAPEX and EBITDA margin. If we agree that a company should not run at a loss, we can start to argue on how to achieve lower data prices without harming profitability.

Hence, will increased usage compensate for the loss of revenue with lower data prices? Are the EBIDTA margins too high, and if so, what should it be? Should these companies increase efficiency, or possibly stop network investments.

To just say "cut prices" sounds nice, but that can be done for any product in the country. If that is the only argument, can we start with cutting the price of a BMW X5 to R50,000 ;)
It sounded a bit like an industry sponsored piece.

My conception (might be faulty but...) was that scarcity of spectrum was what was holding us back and causing the artificially inflated prices?
 

RedViking

Nord of the South
Joined
Feb 23, 2012
Messages
18,589
#17
I think this is a valid point. It does indeed feel expensive - similar to the price for a Rolls Royce or a Porsche. The more accurate question is whether it is expensive for what you get.

There are many alternatives - Telkom, Rain, and Cell C. Why not just use them?
The car analogies doesn't make sense as Rolls Royce and and Porsche doesn't dominate or control the market. There are not many alternatives because their coverage is small. Most places don't have the alternatives.
 

uchoose

Senior Member
Joined
May 19, 2009
Messages
540
#18
Space X just put the last of 60+ iridium communications satalites into space over a period of 2 years. This should drop communication costs by as much as 30% but we will be lucky to see a 5% drop due to greed.
 

Choppie81

Well-Known Member
Joined
Jul 15, 2009
Messages
118
#19
I don’t understand why here in Australia while I’m on contract can get 20GB of data for the same price as 2GB in SA on prepaid. With that data you get free sms and free local calls as well... :confused:
Compare that to the price of bread and we’re paying triple as much in SA.
 

Lupus

Honorary Master
Joined
Apr 25, 2006
Messages
14,574
#20
It sounded a bit like an industry sponsored piece.

My conception (might be faulty but...) was that scarcity of spectrum was what was holding us back and causing the artificially inflated prices?
Think that's probably it, considering we are now almost 4 years passed the last "turning off of analogue"

From the website:
Failing to meet the 2015 deadline to switch off the analogue terrestrial TV signals means that South Africa is no longer protected against disruptions of radio waves that are used for analogue television broadcasts.

https://www.gov.za/about-government/government-programmes/digital-migration
 
Top