Right2Know, the organisation behind the campaign against the Protection of State Information Bill (also known as the “Secrecy Bill”), has announced plans to march on Vodacom, MTN, and ICASA to demand a “free basic amount of airtime and data”.
The march is scheduled for 09:00 on Wednesday, 12 June 2013, starting opposite the Cape Town International Convention Centre.
According to Right2Know, it will hand memorandums to Vodacom, MTN, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) and the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communication.
“An estimated 82.9% of people living in SA have a cell phone that can enable them to access information, enjoy freedom of expression – and organise for social justice as active citizens,” Right 2 Know said.
“Yet the high cost of airtime and data undermines the democratising potential of the mobile network.”
For this reason, the Right2Know said it is launching a campaign to challenge the profiteering of mobile network operators and government’s failure to effectively regulate the cost of communication.
Right2Know listed the following demands on its website:
- Communications must be universal. Everyone has a right to communications that are available and affordable;
- Everyone should get a free basic amount of airtime and data the same way that we have free basic water and electricity;
- All SMS’s should be free as they cost the operators almost nothing to transmit;
- ICASA must regulate the cost of airtime and data to stop profiteering;
- Pre-paid communication users should not cross subsidise post-paid users;
- SMS and data bundles should not expire if they are unused;
- Cellphone companies must improve the quality of service, including network outages, dropped calls, calls that don’t connect, and data coverage, etc;
- The range of numbers that are free to call (like police and ambulance) should be increased to include our children’s schools, hospitals, etc;