ICASA Wants To Reduce Mobile Broadband Prices

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The new/old Nokia 3310 revealed at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Reuters/Paul Hanna
The new/old Nokia 3310 revealed at this month’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain. Reuters/Paul Hanna

South Africa’s communications watchdog is planning to reduce the prices of broadband Internet access in general and mobile broadband.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has published (on 16 November 2018) a notice of its intention to conduct a market inquiry into mobile broadband services as another intervention to reduce the high cost of communication.

The regulator said in a statement on Tuesday that the market inquiry is seeking to assess the state of competition and determine whether or not there are markets or market segments within the mobile broadband services value chain which may require regulation in the context of a market review in terms of section 67(4) of Electronic Communications Act.

“This particular market inquiry is the third intervention by ICASA, after the amendment and publication of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations and the Call Termination Regulations in the recent past,” says ICASA Council’s Botlenyana Mokhele.

“Our intention is to improve the transparency of communication services as well as address the cost of communication in South Africa.”

ICASA has also published a questionnaire requesting information and opinions from market participants and interested stakeholders. This information will be considered when defining those markets or market segments deemed to be relevant; evaluate the effectiveness of competition in the relevant markets; and determine which licensees have significant market power (and where competition is ineffective) in this regard.

The inquiry follows the conclusion of the inquiry to identify priority markets in the electronic communications sector wherein the Authority made a finding that, inter alia, Mobile services will be prioritised for a market inquiry.

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