Pretoria – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA/The Authority) has published a discussion document on Mobile Broadband Services Inquiry today; to solicit written comments from different sectors of society to be submitted within 45 working days from date of publication.
The discussion document, which is informed by information and data received from licensees, sets out the Authority’s preliminary views on the definition of relevant mobile broadband services markets and the effectiveness of competition within these relevant markets. The discussion document further identifies licensees that may have significant market power in the identified markets; and proposes pro-competitive remedies.
It is the Authority’s view that this Inquiry will contribute positively to the broader government initiatives aimed at ensuring universal access to and affordable broadband services for all South Africans as contemplated in the National Development Plan. Furthermore, the Authority believes that the pending licensing of high-demand spectrum will also provide much needed relief in reducing the cost for provision of broadband services to South Africans.
This Inquiry is another key step in the measures taken by the Authority to address concerns pertaining to cost to communicate. It follows the conclusion of the Priority Markets Inquiry in 2018, wherein the Authority identified, among others, broad markets for mobile services (retail market for mobile services and the wholesale supply of mobile network services, including relevant facilities) for prioritisation for a market review.
It also comes against the earlier promulgation of amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations on 12 April 2019; which implemented measures to protect consumers against unfair business practices in relation to, among others, out of bundle billing and expiry of data; thereby promoting transparency in the mobile services market.
The Authority is also aware that the Competition Commission announced that it will be releasing its final report on data services market inquiry on 02 December 2019. There will be continued engagement between ICASA and the Competition Commission on the outcomes and recommendations of the data services market inquiry in line with the provisions of the memorandum of understanding between the two entities.
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