Across Africa great new opportunities are unlocked as companies use the rise of mobile penetration to find new ways to provide crucial services. Initiatives like M-Pesa helped to providing banking services to thousands of people in Kenya and approximately 11% of the country’s GDP is held in M-Pesa as a result. Mobile is also use to solve logistical, medical and educational challenges and is one of the key factors driving growth on the African. Mobile therefore represents a hope of a better future and a key sign of life from a continent that has been struggling for a long time.
What I found worrying however is that Africa’s largest economy is found to be largely lagging in the mobile revolution. South Africa is not taking is rightful place at the head of the mobile revolution in Africa and the reason therefore is simple, mobile and data pricing in South Africa is significantly higher than expected and this additional costs is seriously hampering the ability of South Africans to truly benefit from the mobile revolution.
This uncompetitive trend in South Africa is caused by the iron grip of the two largest market players in South Africa, who will not be named directly but whose identities are apparent. These operators use their domination of the South African mobile marketplace and infrastructure to artificially inflate the prices charged for using the mobile networks at the expense of the South African consumer, the South African economy and local entrepreneurs hoping to take advantage of the mobile marketplace.
I would therefore like to appeal to my fellow South Africans to stand with me and send a clear message to these mobile giants. I believe we as the South African public should not allow these companies to cause harm to our economy for their own selfish benefit, but we should send them a clear message by doing the one thing that they can’t fail to notice: Initiating a nation-wide boycott of the two main mobile service providers until their pricing is adapted to the globally competitive rates already offered by the two small alternative mobile service providers.
We. the public, have an opportunity to build a better South Africa for everyone and assist in making our country more competitive in a global market by sending a clear message that we will not tolerate companies acting in their own interest at the detriment of all.
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