R2K takes aim at high SA telecom charges

The Right-2-Know Campaign is taking aim at the mobile telecoms industry in what could turn into an ongoing mass based fight against painfully high service prices charged by South Africa’s mobile telecom players.

The Right-2-Know Campaign, largely known for its protests against the ‘Secrecy Bill’, released a statement saying it will stage protest march in Cape Town on the 12th of June. This looks like a drumming up of a recently launched broader campaign to fight against high mobile telecom costs.

The issue of high telecom services prices has been highlighted time and again backed by theories which say South Africa maintains one of the most expensive mobile telecom charges. Government and regulators have acknowledged this but are yet to deliver significant gains for the consumer.

It is not clear what the Right-2-Know Campaign has up its sleeves but the ensuing campaign has the hallmarks of a civil society rebellion which has a potential to have devastating impact on targeted corporate brands. The potential of such action was best reflected in the UK recently where global the US fast food giant Starbucks faced the wrath of the UK consumers for perceived tax avoidance.

The Right-2-Know Campaign statement said “On Wednesday 12 June, the Right2Know Campaign will be marching in Cape Town to call for free basic and affordable telecommunications. We will hand memorandums to Vodacom, MTN, the independent communications regulator (ICASA) and Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communication to advance our right to communicate”.

Added the statement “An estimated 82.9% of people living in SA have a cell phone that can enable them to access information, enjoy freedom of expression – and organise for social justice as active citizens. Yet the high cost of airtime and data undermines the democratising potential of the mobile network. The Right2Know is launching a campaign to challenge the profiteering of cell phone companies and government’s failure to effectively regulate the cost of communication”.


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