Competition Commission joins #DataMustFall feud

Johannesburg - The Competition Commission has set in motion a market inquiry into data services with a terms of reference published in the Government Gazette on Friday. 

This publication of the terms of reference officially sets off the inquiry process into the sector, with the commission set to call for submissions after 20 business days. 

The Competition Commission initiated the inquiry because it believes there are features which prevent, distort or restrict competition within the sector. 

The inquiry aims to determine what may cause or lead to high data prices, with a view to ultimately making recommendations that will result in lower prices for data services.

The probe was initiated in response to a request by Economic Development Minister Ebrahim Patel, who expressed concern over high data costs and highlighted the importance of data affordability.

The commission said it will set out to obtain a clear understanding of the data services value chain, and assess the state of competition in the market at every stage to identify areas of market power where customers or consumers may be exploited.

The Competition Commission is in discussions with other regulatory bodies such as the National Consumer Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), which recently stepped into the ongoing war between consumers and network providers over high data costs.

Icasa has published a notice of its intention to conduct an inquiry to determine the priority markets in the electronic communications sector. 

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