People driving to their holiday destinations will be feeling the pain of the latest fuel price hike. The travellers will probably be using their mobile devices — hands-free, of course — to read maps on apps or to stream YouTube videos for children in the back. Phones also need fuel — and that fuel is data. There is a significant difference between buying petrol and buying data. Regardless of the size of a car’s tank, its engine or its driver’s salary, everyone pays the same price. Similarly, neighbours probably pay the same price for water and electricity. But among all basic services, data is the only one where the poor pay more. Fuel is measured in litres. Data is measured in megabytes or MB. If data is bought in large amounts, it can cost below 3c per MB (on Cell C). Most of the population buys it in much smaller quantities and may pay up to 66 times more (if, for example, a buyer pays out-of-bundle rates on MTN). Bulk-data prices have fallen by multiples in recent years. But for...

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