About 600 bidders and onlookers stood ten-deep inside Bosasa's Imbizo Hall on Wednesday morning, braving wet and cold conditions to grab a piece of the Bosasa pie.
The Competition Commission blames factors that include "poor decisions" by customers of the major cellphone networks for them staying, despite high prices.
Network-locked devices fell out favour in South Africa a decade ago, but are making a quick comeback.
Both of the big cellphone networks have enabled eSIMs, but only on the Samsung Galaxy Watch 42mm.
Mobile data prices in South Africa are higher than in many other countries in Africa and elsewhere. The quick release of spectrum could change that – but continued indecision by policymakers leaves consumers with costly data bills and hinders economic growth.
e-SIM cards are built into a device and therefore only needs to be activated.
Vodacom says it took a big knock in "WASP revenue" because of stringent policies about content fraud, after years of complaints.
The appeals committee of SA's advertising regulator says Vodacom shouldn't be claiming to be the best cellphone network in the land anymore, as MTN complained – and Vodacom looking contemptuous because it keeps trying.
Stage 4 load shedding places additional strain on cellphone towers as batteries are increasingly unable to recharge.
Vodacom was going to be the only mobile operator to charge for data rollovers to the next month.
From the beginning of March, South Africans have to be warned if they use out-of-bundle data, and they will also be able to roll over data.
Sim cards for the mobile service will only be available in KwaZulu-Natal at launch, but connectivity nationwide through the Cell C network.
Eskom implemented stage 2 load shedding on Wednesday.
Mobile operators have long blamed the lack of spectrum for high data prices.
Vodcom reported 608,000 new customers on its network in its most recent quarter, while its service revenues declined. But the really big drops in data costs will come once it has new promised spectrum, the company says.
South Africa has some of the most expensive data in the world.
Vodacom will soon have spent R2.3 billion in capital on the much smaller data-only network Rain, its latest financial results show – money its competitors think will be very well spent.
5G promises to be up to be 20 times faster than 4G.
It also charges the most for out-of-bundle data usage.
1GB data costs R149 at Vodacom.
Cell C, the country’s third largest mobile operator, said during load shedding nearly 30% of its network is affected by vandalism.
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