The Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA) has issued a further call for SA telcos to take bold action to bring down the costs of mobile broadband by introducing improved wholesale mobile data products.
ISPA argues that the absence of true wholesale mobile data offerings constitutes a lost business opportunity for mobile operators and an obstacle to deepening broadband penetration.
“In South Africa, mobile devices are the primary gateway to the business and social opportunities offered by the Internet,” said ISPA chair, Graham Beneke.
“High prices for mobile broadband will continue to act as a brake on Internet penetration in the country.”
“One only has to look back several years ago when to the Blackberry uncapped mobile package was first launched,” he said.
“It was instantly popular amongst SA mobile users, many of whom used the package as the only way they accessed the web. There is clearly a demand for uncapped mobile data.”
Beneke said that opening up the ADSL market to competition has created business opportunities for providers, and the consumer has benefited hugely.
“We believe that ICASA should take the necessary action to enable a simple resale model for mobile data to stimulate the same sort of consumer-friendly competition,” said Beneke.
Beneke urged consumers to begin creating “pull” by demanding uncapped data offerings from service providers.
“As voice and data converge on the Internet protocol platform, differentiated voice and data rates are becoming increasingly anomalous—we need to start moving towards one price for voice and data, and it has to begin with a genuine wholesale market in mobile data.”