ICASA to Hold Public Hearings on Mobile Broadband Services Regulations

ICASA has announced that it is going to hold virtual public hearings about the Mobile Broadband Services Regulations to get comments from the public.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA/the Authority) will hold public hearings in respect of the draft Mobile Broadband Services Regulations published on 26 March 2021 for public comments. The virtual public hearings will be held on 12 and 13 August 2021.

The draft Regulations, amongst other things, define relevant wholesale and retail markets or market segments for mobile broadband services and determine whether there is effective competition in those relevant markets and market segments. Most importantly, the draft Regulations impose appropriate pro-competitive licence conditions on those licensees with significant market power, to remedy the market failure.

The Authority is of the view that the current Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector remains highly concentrated, with market dominance enjoyed by a small number of major providers in various market segments, as identified in the Findings Document on Mobile Broadband Services Inquiry published on 26 March 2021. This dominance and ineffective competition in some of the markets, if not addressed, together have the potential to constraint the sector, and continue to contribute towards the high cost of data services, while stifling dynamism and innovation in products and services.

The Authority’s mandate is centred around the public interest, and it is committed to protecting consumers while ensuring the sustainability of those conducting business within the ICT sector.

“This is spirit within which we should all be looking at this regulatory intervention i.e. to meet the broadband needs of all South Africans, especially during the time where the paradigm has shifted and the public relies more on broadband, or data services and bandwidth, to go about their communication lives.”

Ms Thembeka Semane, Councillor, ICASA

The Authority has identified and published several pro-competitive terms and conditions, in relation to which stakeholders made submissions. The public hearings provide ICASA with an opportunity to interrogate these representations further in order to make informed decisions in the final Mobile Broadband Services Regulations.

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