Tomorrow, 19 September 2017, R2K Gauteng will be picketing outside four network providers to demand that action must be taken to ensure the cost of data and airtime is affordable to all people of South Africa. These are follow-up actions after service providers failed to act on demands that have been continuously presented to them since R2K initiated the campaign against high cost of communications in 2013. To date none of the demands have been met.
We remain resolute that our right to communicate – to receive and impart information and opinions – is central to our right to know. Yet far too many South Africans are deprived of the basic right to communicate because of the ruthless profiteering of the big telecoms companies. High data and airtime prices place this right out of reach of the country’s poor.
South Africa has some of the highest data/airtime costs in the world. It is outrageous that in a country where so many struggle to put bread on the table, the telecoms companies are given free rein to rip us off.
Venue: Cell C Head Office, 150 Rivonia Road, Sandton
MTN Head Office, 216 14th Ave, Fairland, Randburg
Vodacom Head Office, 082 Vodacom Blvd, Midrand
Telkom Head Office, 61 Oak Avenue, Centurion
Here are our demands:
- Affordable data and airtime for all South Africans.
- Communications must be universal. Everyone has a right to communications that are available and affordable.
- All SMS’s should be free as they cost the operators almost nothing to transmit.
- Everyone should get a free basic amount of airtime and data in the same way that we have free basic water and electricity.
- ICASA must regulate the cost of airtime and data to stop profiteering.
- Prepaid communication users should not cross subsidize post-paid users.
- Data bundles should not expire if they are unused.
- Cell phone companies must improve the quality of service, including network outages, dropped calls, calls that don’t connect, and data coverage.
- The range of numbers that are free to call (like police and ambulance) should be increased to include our children’s schools and hospitals.