From the Editor-at-Large
The cost of data has been a touchy subject for many, as more and more people come online. Data is the fuel of the growing digital economy, and as such, it has occupied an important niche in our lives, so much so that people are willing to go to the streets to demand fairer prices.
The #DataMustFall protests in South Africa have become an interesting touchstone, with customers taking on service providers on social media, asking why they have to pay so much for data. Looking across the continent, it's not hard to see why people are demanding fairer prices for the data they get. It costs 89 US cents to get 1GB of data in Tanzania, for example, compared to US$5.26 in South Africa, and US$4.50 in Kenya.
While this raises the question of false equivalence - cost of living in Tanzania is much lower than in Kenya and South Africa, the disparities are too big to ignore.
Even as a new ITU report shows that the cost of handsets and mobile services - calls, data and texts - has shown a steady decrease year-on-year over the past five years, some argue that the decrease is not enough. Service providers are pressured to cut the prices of their bundles, meaning that the bottom line will have to be pushed further down as existing infrastructure has to cope with growing demand.
Perhaps the biggest champion for cheaper data in South Africa i̶s̶ was Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe, CEO of online radio station TouchCentral, who tweeted that the hard fight to get mobile data prices in South Africa had finally come to an end thanks to, according to him, MTN South Africa dropping their data bundles prices.
Earlier in 2016, Tbo Touch and Gareth Cliff (Co-Founder at TouchCentral) took on the campaign of #DataMustFall as far as making presentations at the South African parliament asking people to rally behind them.
However, as it turns out, the data bundles prices Tbo Touch was quoting have been in existence for a while. To make it worse, the cheaper data may only be used between the hours of 00h01 and 05h59, according to MTN South Africa's terms and conditions.
The champion for cheaper data turned it all into a gimmick. While the need for cheaper data is a legitimate concern, it seems there are those willing to capitalize on it for their own gains.
Tell us what you think. Does the fight for cheaper data still have legs now that the wind has been taken out of its sails? (Sorry about the cliches...) Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org
By Sello Moloi
Thabo “Tbo Touch” Molefe tweeted that the hard fight to get mobile data prices in South Africa had finally come to an end thanks to, according to him, MTN South Africa dropping their data bundles prices. He announced that MTN had listened to the #DataMustFall movement, which he and Gareth Cliff, co-Founder at TouchCentral started, and dropped their data bundles pricing and said consumers must now “stop being ungrateful”
By iAfrikan News
WeFarm, a peer-to-peer mobile AgriTech network that enables small-scale farmers to access and share vital agricultural information without the need for internet access, has reached over 100,000 users and secured US$1.6 million in a seed funding round led by LocalGlobe, a UK-based venture capital firm.
The seed funding will assist with expanding the platform across the globe and reach more farmers.
By iAfrikan News
The Minister for Home Affairs, Mr Malusi Gigaba, and the Statistician-General of South Africa, Dr Pali Lehohla, have launched a project on the digitisation of Home Affairs civil records.
The project will be led by the Department of Home Affairs and Statistics South Africa, the two government departments involved in the collection of data related to births, deaths, marriage certificates and other vital records. It is hoped that the digitisation project will lead to a transition from the old systems of record keeping to a more efficient and secure storage method.
By Eric Mugendi
The Boost Africa Initiative, a unique partnership in support of innovation and entrepreneurship across Africa, was launched last week in Abidjan by the European Investment Bank (EIB) and the African Development Bank (AfDB) in partnership with the European Commission.
The initiative aims to foster the development of an efficient entrepreneurial ecosystem in Africa by supporting the earliest and riskier stages of the venture value chain in an economically viable and sustainable way.
To achieve this, the initiative will direct smaller-sized equity investments into angel, venture capital and seed funds, which in turn fund start-ups and early stage businesses with high growth and job creation potential in Africa.
By iAfrikan News
An increasingly ubiquitous, open, fast and content-rich Internet has changed the way many people live, communicate, and do business, the 2016 edition of the International Telecommunications Union's flagship annual Measuring the Information Society Report, shows.
However, many people are still not using the Internet, and many users do not fully benefit from its potential. While the world is getting more and more connected, there are still huge investment gaps and opportunities that exist for the private sector to connect the unconnected.
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