Dr. Alison Gillwald and Ariel Futter from Research ICT Africa provide a useful overview of the status of the zero rating debate and reduces the level of hysteria on the topic. You can read more here: http://www.researchictafrica.net/docs/Facebook%20zerorating%20Final_Web.pdf
One of the most exciting functions of mobile phones in recent years has been Mobile Money. In this presentation, Christoph Stork investigates the obstacles to serving the poor more profitably. The conclusion of the presentation is that:
- Banks need to get back to basics and focus on making money through financial intermediation rather than through transaction fees
- Convergence of two such heavily regulated industries means that challenges are unlikely to be met unless policy-makers lay the ground rules for innovation
- Policy-makers and regulators need to safeguard that evolving systems serve the broader objectives of economic growth and development as well as protect consumer interests, while creating an environment that encourages and rewards innovation
Mobile termination rates no longer pose an obstacle to competition. Cell C and Telkom Mobile have continued to place pressure on MTN and Vodacom to reduce their prices, even at the new higher rate of 20c.
While mobile prepaid voice prices in South Africa have come down significantly in the last year, from 99c to 66c per minute. The 50c promotion may just have been an attempt by MTN and Cell C to test the price elasticity of its subscribers. Vodacom, the dominant operator, is currently the most expensive operator and Telkom Mobile the cheapest for mobile prepaid voice.
South Africa is in 14th position on the RIA Mobile Pricing Index in terms of the dominant operator and 9th in terms of the cheapest product. This is a major improvement on their rankings in the 30s in previous years, but they still are not leading on the continent as South Africans have come to expect.
Regulation of wholesale mobile prices has brought down retail prices. The question that remains is what can be done in the broadband wholesale market to bring down the cost of data so that the internet becomes accessible to more people.
Operators are already adjusting their business plans to deal with the changing broadband landscape, regulators will need to keep up.