Are our cellular providers stealing from us?

The hashtag #datamustfall is currently trending on Twitter where people are calling for an end to high data prices.

Consumers have once again become fed up with the high cost of mobile data in South Africa.

Apart from the cost of data, users are also complaining that cellular providers should not be able to set “expiry” dates on data – and that once purchased, data should be the users’ to keep.

A recent Facebook post on the matter went viral when it was shared over 7 500 times, sparking a resurgence in the anger towards SA’s main providers: Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Telkom.

The questions consumers are now asking revolve around whether this is tantamount to theft, and what impact it has on the country’s small businesses – and the poorest sections of society.

Poet and activist Ntsiki Mazwai has called on South Africans to boycott all social media platforms from midnight.

The social media blackout campaign has the following aims:

“The social media blackout is a campaign that is aimed at lowering data prices. Data costs are obscene and are not affordable for people on the ground. We want to bring attention to this issue; we want to engage government and cellular network companies.”

Mazwai says that from midnight people should log off social media.

“We don’t buy data for 24 hours, we will meet back on social media the following day to discuss the way forward. Why should data expire after 30 days when you’ve paid for it?”

She has encouraged people to take part in the campaign because it is too expensive to access information.

“We keep talking about #feesmustfall but how must students access information or hand in assignments if data costs are so high? This has a negative impact on entrepreneurs and our families because we can’t communicate with them.”

Mazwai has further called on the country to unify for a good cause.

Refilwe Pitjeng for EWN; My Office News

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