President Cyril Ramaphosa delivered his state of the nation address (SONA) on Thursday, 13 February, saying big data price cuts and a free daily data allocation for users are being negotiated.
He said the competition authorities are working towards a resolution with the large mobile operators to secure deep cuts to data prices across prepaid monthly bundles.
He added that additional discounts targeted at low-income households, a free daily allocation of data, and free access to educational and other public interest websites are also on the cards.
“This is an important step to improve lives, bring people into the digital economy, and stimulate online businesses,” Ramaphosa said.
“The digital economy will increasingly become a driver of growth and a creator of employment.”
The president added that the Presidential Commission on the Fourth Industrial Revolution has made far-reaching recommendations that impact on nearly every aspect of the economy – and in many areas of people’s lives.
“The Commission’s report provides us with the tools to ensure that we extract the greatest benefit of these revolutionary technological changes,” Ramaphosa said.
He also said an important condition for the success of South Africa’s digital economy is the availability of high-demand spectrum to expand broadband access and reliability.
“The regulator, ICASA, has undertaken to conclude the licensing of high-demand spectrum for industry via auction before the end of 2020,” he said.
“Because of additional requirements, the licensing of the wireless open access network – or WOAN – is likely to be completed during the course of next year.”