The Internet Service Providers’ Association of SA (ISPA) has called for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to boost mobile broadband penetration and competition in South Africa.
This, the association argued, can best be achieved by cutting mobile broadband prices.
“The reality is that the mobile networks already provide the ability to access broadband services,” said ISPA regulatory advisor Dominic Cull. “Physical access is not the barrier for the majority of the underserved: affordability of the services accessed is.”
Cull said further that multiple studies have shown that South Africans simply pay too much for mobile data connectivity.
Research by the GSM Association shows that 66% of South Africans subscribe to mobile services, while a PwC study predicts that global spending on Internet access via mobile devices will exceed fixed broadband by 2014.
In South Africa, the major networks claim to cover roughly 80% of the country and around 90% of the population.
“If Government is serious about using broadband as a catalyst for growth, then it must use its policy, legislative and regulatory powers to open this space up for competition and bring the prices down,” Cull said.