Weekly digest for 19 Mar 2021


This week’s main story is a follow-up from last week on Tanzania. The Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has imposed a price floor and ceiling on mobile data tariffs. The price floor is Tsh 2.03 (USD 0.00087) and the ceiling is Tsh 9.35 (USD 0.00401) per megabyte. The price floors come into effect on the 2nd of April 2021. The justification given by the TCRA is that the price controls are to prevent predatory pricing. However, like many countries that have either attempted to or imposed price controls (Benin, Uganda, DRC, Liberia), there is no publicly available data to support this contention. RIS will release an analysis of the impact of the price floor and ceiling in the next few days.

  • South Africa: The spectrum debacle continues in South Africa. ICASA has stated that it is going to appeal the High Court’s judgement suspending the auction process for high demand spectrum (HDS). In the meantime, ICASA has rejected attempts to mediate the dispute with the operators but has said it is open to a “settlement” (though it is unclear what this might mean).
  • Rwanda: The ICT sector grew by 29% in 2020 according to the National Institute of Statistics of Rwanda.
  • Africa: A new report shows that 28 out of 54 countries in Africa have blocked access to social media platforms since 2015. The most recent cases include Senegal (5 March 2021); Chad (28 February 2021) and Uganda (12 January 2021).
  • Cross-Africa cable: The fibre company, Liquid Intelligent Technologies (formerly Liquid Telecom), has just connected West and East Africa via a 2,600km cable running through DRC. The cable then goes south to Cape Town and north to Egypt. This is the first time that there is a land-based connection between West and East Africa.
  • Digital transformation: In a recent survey of MNOs, the benefit of digitization was to reduce the cost of operation in Africa. According to Balancing Act, 82% of MNOs believe that digitization can reduce costs through automation and at the same time improve customer service. However, most companies have yet to implement a business case or roadmap to support digitization efforts.