“Bring down the price of data or we take our business elsewhere.”

That’s the message South Africans who say they’re tired of being ripped off have sent to local mobile networks. Their message has started trending on Twitter under the hashtag #DataMustFall.

The #DataMustFall hashtag started with radio personality and co-owner of newly launched TouchCentralFM online station, Tbo Touch.

Before its launch, TouchCentralFM,which launched last month, began running a promotion where listeners could get guaranteed free data when they signed up on the stations’ website.

Even after is launch, it’s still running free airtime and data promos, so more listeners, particularly young people, can listen in, without having to worry about data costs.

Yesterday during his afternoon drive show, Tbo Touch announced and tweeted that the station would be going around universities and colleges to hand out data bundles, attaching the #DataMustFall hashtag.

According to regional ICT policy and regulation think tank, Research ICT Africa, South African data prices remain among the most expensive in the world.

The conversation about data prices soon grew, with the hashtag popping up on South Africa’s top Twitter trends.

 

Tbo Touch went as far as approaching Icasa’s acting chairperson, Rubben Mangaba Mohlaloga, “to intervene”.

“Quality of service and prices are to be monitored by Icasa why are still being ripped off In 2016 [sic],” he said.

Even the deputy president, Cyril Ramaphosa was brought into the conversation, when the radio personality threatened to withhold his [presumably 2019] vote if data prices don’t fall.

Networks have 30 days to make a change

When someone tweeted that a protest needs to be organised, Tbo Touch said there wasn’t a need for one, but gave mobile networks 30 days [now 29] to respond and “make a change” or risk losing customers.

Later, Tbo Touch tweeted that Mohlaloga had promised to have meeting on the matter this week.

 

None of the top mobile networks have responded to the ultimatum yet.