Johannesburg - The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has stepped into the ongoing war between consumers and network providers over the high cost of data.
The communications regulator has published a notice of its intention to conduct an inquiry to determine the priority markets in the electronic communications sector.
This notice forms part of a number of initiatives Icasa is involved in to address the high cost of communication in South Africa, including data costs.
Icasa is currently in consultation with other regulatory bodies such as the National Consumer Commission and the Competition Commission to find ways in which data costs can be further reduced to benefit consumers.
Icasa said in a statement that the purpose of the inquiry is to "identify relevant wholesale and retail markets or market segments in the telecommunications sector that are generally prone to regulation; and to determine from these markets and market segments those that the Authority intends to prioritise for market reviews and potential regulation."
It said it "requests information and opinions from stakeholders in line with the questionnaire to be published together with the notice to conduct an Inquiry in the Government Gazette".
Most recently, a planned protest against high data costs crashed spectacularly when it became a trending topic on Twitter.
The protest asked South Africans to do away with social media for the day under the hashtag #SocialMediaBlackout. However, it contradicted its purpose by becoming a top trend on a day meant to encourage users to boycott social networks.
The online protest stemmed from the #DataMustFall campaign, first initiated by radio personality Tbo Touch, who wanted to hold mobile networks to account for the high cost of data in the country.
Later, political parties like the Economic Freedom Fighters joined calls for a dramatic decrease in data costs through the #DataMustFall social media campaign.