The Competition Commission last week confirmed what South Africans have been saying for years: the cost of cellular data is too high. The provisional report from the commission’s data services market inquiry, which has dragged on since August 2017, no doubt contributed to the fall of Vodacom and MTN shares. It says the convoluted pricing structure "lacks transparency" and is "anti-poor". It’s hard to disagree. A look around Sub-Saharan Africa shows how cheap data can be — often from the same SA networks operating in our neighbouring countries. "Consumers of small data bundles, generally being poorer consumers, pay inexplicably more on a per MB/GB basis," commissioner Tembinkosi Bonakele says in a statement. "For example, relative to a 1GB bundle, a consumer buying a 100MB bundle will pay roughly twice the price on a per bundle basis for the same data period validity, [for] a 50MB bundle up to three times more and [for] a 20MB bundle up to four times more." Obfuscation has long been ...

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