SA’s Mobile Termination Rate (MTR) Debate and Africa 2012 Index
South Africa’s mobile termination rate (MTR) reductions of March 2011 and March 2012 have not, contrary to claims made by operators, hurt the industry or led to higher retail prices, lower investments or retrenchments. End-user prices have come down to some extent, but South Africa continues to be among the most expensive countries in Africa for prepaid mobile usage, and South Africa's MTRs are still far above the cost of an efficient operator.

Read Research ICT Africa's policy brief on South Africa's mobile termination rates. It includes also the Africa 2012 Index.
New mobile pricing portal
Research ICT Africa has developed a new mobile pricing portal with data on pre-paid mobile pricing products collected quaretly from all African operators in all African countries, since January 2011.
The mobile pricing portal aims at increasing price trasparency in the African continent, in order to support users to make informed decisions when select a mobile operators and to compare prices across operators. 
It is also a useful instrument for mobile operators since they can compare prices at a country level and across countries. It helps at monitoring regulatory interventions and the effect of those - such as interconnection rates cut and new operators in national markets - on pricing.

The portal is online at the following link.
Myth buster on reasons for SA high prepaid mobile pricing
The reactions of various interest groups to a yearlong study by RIA into pre-paid mobile prices across the continent, and South Africa’s relatively poor showing in it, are perhaps not surprising. They nevertheless prompt clarification and hopefully further debate - before the issue of the high price of communications in South is again swept under the carpet. Research ICT Africa Executive Director, Alison Gillwald responds.  

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Africa Prepaid Mobile Price Index 2012: South Africa
Among 46 African countries studied, South Africa ranks poorly for prepaid mobile telephony affordability. Ranked 30th out of 46 African states, South Africa is now far behind countries where the regulator, unlike in South Africa, has enabled competition by enforcing cost-based mobile termination rates. The resulting competition has in many cases driven down prices for consumers. Not long ago, South Africa and Namibia shared the same mobile termination rates and had similar end-user prices. Today, Namibia enjoys amongst the cheapest mobile prepaid prices in Africa, as a result of the slashing of its termination rates close to cost, which pressured the incumbents towards cost-based pricing, thereby increasing demand and remaining highly profitable.

Download the policy brief

Download Research ICT Africa's answers to the following technical questions from the media:

1. Why did you focus only on prepaid?
2. Do you expect prices to decline further next year when MTRs drop to 40c?
3. Could you send through the January 2012 OECD Lower User Baske costs in USD table that includes PPP factor?
Fair Mobile
The cost of communication varies across the continent. Fair competition is the key to bringing prices to affordable levels while proving efficient incentives to invest.
The Fair Mobile Index tracks price developments for mobile telecommunication across the African continent. The purpose is to establish price transparency for consumers, allow for the benchmarking of affordability across countries and to provide tools to assess the impact of policies and regulatory interventions.

Download the first quarterly report.




2011 Africa Fair Mobile Index: Dynamic changes
The Fair Mobile Index aims at communicating the real value of mobile voice services and at comparing differences in mobile voice services value across the African continent.
It allows for the comparison of mobile services tariffs in all African countries in relation to the value of a widely used commodity with which citizens are likely to be familiar such as cooking oil, sugar or tea. The following report is based on all pre-paid tariffs publicly available (from operators’ websites) from all operators of each country on the continent in April, May and June 2011. 

Download the second quarterly report.