The #DataMustFall movement started when Tbo Touch (CEO of the recently launched Touch Central) tweeted about the high costs of data in SA.

And we all know we pay a lot for data. Who can forget their first phonebill when they went from Blackberry to Android or iPhone? Or that time you had to pay out-of-bundle rates?

South Africans are data conscious and with good reason

We pay more for data than the rest of the world, and that includes Africa. Poorer South Africans spend more than 22% of their income on data. #DataMustFall isn’t about getting data for free. It’s about making data affordable.

[Tweet “#DataMustFall is not about free data. It’s about making it affordable.”]

Monthly usage per subscriber is set to increase from 0.3 GB in 2015 to 4.3 GB in 2020. While most of the dominant service providers in Africa are usually the cheapest, in SA the dominant service provider is 40% more expensive than the cheapest available alternative.  


The UN declared that human rights protected offline, must be protected online. The declaration was passed in July 2016, but some countries voted for amendments (weaker language or loopholes). Countries like Russia, China, Saudi Arabia and South Africa! 

So why is affordable data a human right? Because when you don’t have access this happens 

  • stifles South Africans’ freedom of expression
  • increases the divide between rich and poor on all levels (social, economic, education)
  • hinders entrepreneurship

If you want to get anything done in South Africa, create a hashtag that ends in must fall – Toby Shapshak

And he is absolutely right. On Tuesday (20/09/2016) Tbo Touch presented his argument at a public hearing to the Portfolio of Telecommunications and Postal Services and on Wednesday (21/09/2016) it was the networks’ turn. 

There are 2 sides to every story

Some (the networks) argue that data costs need to be high because networks are still building infrastructure and need to cover costs and maintain a high return on investment. 

But as Toby Shapshak explains in the video below that is actually BS.

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