Telecoms tower. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SUSANA GONZALEZ
Telecoms tower. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SUSANA GONZALEZ

Mobile operator MTN’s share price dropped to a nine-month low on Monday afternoon, after the Competition Commission said SA’s operators could face prosecution if they do not lower data prices.

MTN's share price fell as much as 8.4% to R84.61, a level last seen at the height of its tax dispute with Nigerian authorities in March. Vodacom’s share price dropped to an intraday low of R111.56, down 7.89%, a level it last reached on August 30.

LISTEN | Service providers could face prosecution if they do not drop data prices

According to the commission’s data services market inquiry report, MTN and Vodacom’s current data prices do not accommodate poor South Africans and therefore limit their access to the internet.

“The strategy in SA for the two dominant operators has been to maintain the high pricing levels of 30-day prepaid data bundles, despite headline price reductions by challenger networks,” the Competition Commission said.

“This is in stark contrast to their behaviour in the other African markets in which they operate, where there have been reductions in the 30-day prepaid data bundle prices. This indicates that they are more capable of price discrimination strategies in SA, where they dominate.”