Gugu Lourie (Tech Financials)
South Africa’s telecoms watchdog, ICASA, is poised to launch competition probe into the telecommunications sector, in a bold move that builds on its strategy to reduce cost to communicate.
The industry watchdog has invited the media and other stakeholders to a press conference on Thursday, 13 March, at 10am to announce the launch of a high level Inquiry into the ‘State of Competition in the Information and Communications Technology sector’.
“The ICT sector has been, and continues to undergo rapid technological changes with far reaching implications for the local and international industries. One area, in which these changes are more pronounced, is in the competitiveness of the electronic communications, broadcasting and postal sectors and the assumption that greater competition will lead to reduction in the cost to communicate,” says ICASA.
The regulators said another issue to be looked at is what impact any consolidation of the market will have on the state of competition, the cost to communicate and bridging the digital divide.
“The question of the assignment of spectrum for broadband will also have an effect on the state of competition in the ICT sector,” asked ICASA.
“It is against this background that the Authority is embarking on a wide ranging inquiry to develop a full appreciation of the implication of these unfolding changes and developments on the regulation of competition in the ICT sector.”
The ICT sector is experiencing consolidation as mobile operators jostle for much-needed spectrum to deliver broadband.
MTN SA also confirmed this week that it was in talks with Telkom to share its network infrastructure.
Vodacom is in a process of buying Neotel, Telkom’s competitor