Former Metro FM DJ Tbo Touch (Thabo Molefe) started a campaign dubbed #DataMustFall, in an attempt to make network service providers cut data costs, due to it being ridiculously overpriced. The campaign has been slightly successful with one network provider giving in to the demands.

Tbo Touch has announced that MTN has joined the low data movement, further detailing the new data prices. On Thursday, Tbo Touch tweeted that he had “the biggest announcement ever of my entire career”.

“#DataFalling @MTNza has joined the low data movement. 1Gig data bundle is now R65 2Gig R99 Unlimited calls, SMS, 3G data for R859 AlutaContinua,” he tweeted.

The Twittersphere’s mixed reaction to the news:

Why is the #DataMustFall campaign so important?

Troy Martens’s letter to Icasa (Independent Communications Authority of SA) spells out the frustrations many consumers experience with cellular operators.

In April, she wrote: “I am extremely agitated by the unethical conduct of the cellular operators when it comes to the exorbitant cost of out-of-bundle data rates.

“It is not fair or justifiable that when people go out of bundle, the rates jump so exorbitantly. If a service can be offered at, for example, the Vodacom rate of R149 for a gig of data, it cannot be justified that Vodacom can then charge R1 000 for that same gig out of bundle. That is a mark-up of 10 times.

“I am a busy person and it is unreasonable for the cellular operator to expect me to vigilantly monitor my data use.
“Last month, I used 12 gigs, the month before 7 gigs. The difference in bundle is R599 compared to out of bundle which is R5 000.

“There is nothing wrong with incentivising people to use bundles, but it is unethical for normal data rates to be so unaffordable. It discriminates on consumers’ rights to communicate effectively and affordably.”

The high cost of data is stifling the economy and innovation, Stuff magazine editor Toby Shapshak told eNCA: “I’m often asked why don’t we have a Silicon Valley in SA? The problem is: the kids who are most likely to come up with that idea in their twenties are more paranoid about running out of airtime than thinking up the next big idea. It’s time this anger Tbo has touched on becomes something worthwhile.”

With the chaos seen on university campuses, this campaign becomes even more critical. If students are unable to get to class, they could access textbooks online or take their classes through Skype.

If you feel that your network provider charges too much for out of bundle rates, then join the #DataMustFall movement

Categories: Money News