Smoke and mirrors on spectrum – CHRIS HATTINGH
Access to more data is vital for economic growth and education. Young people spend more and more time on mobile devices - the fewer regulations and the more competition we have in SA, the more they will be enabled to access a whole universe of educational resources. The government can either aid in empower young people by letting go of control over data, or it can inhibit a real, transformative, empowering process by bumbling from spectrum allocation ‘deadline’ to ‘deadline.’ The choice, and unlimited potential, are clear: massive pressure must be put on government to get radio spectrum allocated.
The latest Data Service Market Inquiry by the Competition Commission is being conducted because the former Minister “requested that the Commission conduct a market inquiry into the state of competition relating to the provision of data services.” The Minister was concerned about “high data costs.” The effect of the inquiry will not be to lower data costs; it is in the nature of government inquiries into the supposed ‘lack of competition’ that they recommend more regulations, not fewer. This means higher costs for businesses in the data sector, and, in turn, higher costs for consumers.
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Publish date: 17 July 2019
The views expressed in the article are the author’s and are not necessarily shared by the members of the Foundation.