Google’s Low Cost Smartphone Announced

Google has announced that it is working on a low-cost smartphone aimed at emerging markets as part of an initiative called Android One.

Google senior vice president, Sundar Pichai, points out that the Android-powered handset will be built with a basic set of features including FM radio, have a screen slightly smaller than five inches (12.7 centimetres) and be priced at R1 000).

SA, Mexico, Push for Locally-Made Vaccines

The 67th World Health Assembly (WHA) in Switzerland has heard that Mexico and South Africa want to start producing their own vaccines to boost their immunisation programmes.

The countries need the World Health Organisation (WHO) and other international agencies to help expand their local manufacturing capacity, a move they hope will lower the cost of vaccines and make their supply more reliable.

Health Minister, Aaron Motsoaledi, states that, "We want the WHO and other international agencies to empower us to produce our vaccines."

Mobile Data 'to Explode' in SA - Cisco

According to a study by Cisco, South Africans complain about high data costs and the price of mobile devices, but despite that, the Internet is set to grow exponentially.

The company points out that, "Cisco's Visual Networking Index (VNI) reveals interesting growth figures and projects that mobile data traffic in South Africa will increase nearly eight-fold over the next five years and grow twice as fast as fixed IP traffic in South Africa."

ICASA Plans to Cut Call Rates

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) proposed a cut of up to 75 percent over the next three years in the fees mobile phone companies can charge competitors to use their network.

ICASA has released its draft call termination regulations, significantly reducing the cellphone rates of some networks.

In addition, ICASA introduced an asymmetric rates system for smaller operators with a market share of less than 20 percent, which is aimed at promoting investment, encouraging competition and fostering small, medium and micro enterprises.

SA Electricity Industry and the UK, NZ, Chile and Brazil

The challenge for all electricity sectors is to ensure an adequate supply of electricity at an affordable price. All countries have their own challenges, degrees of private sector involvement and of political intervention, but nowhere in the world is the system as archaic as in South Africa (SA).

A4AI Aims for Affordable Internet Access

The recently launched Alliance for Affordable Internet (A4AI) says it aims to drive down the cost of broadband Internet access in developing countries.
A4AI, which is supported by 30 companies and organisations, wants to assist in decreasing the broadband Internet access prices below five percent of monthly worldwide income.

The association further argues that this will allow two-thirds of the people currently not connected to connect.

Weak Regulation Blamed for Higher Data Prices

Research ICT Africa says that weak regulation in South Africa has driven up mobile data pricing, pushing the country down to 30th out of 46 African countries surveyed.

Research ICT Africa executive director, Dr Alison Gillwald, points out that, "The fact of the matter is that we don’t have an as highly competitive market as they have in many other African countries, nor as effective regulation...”

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