The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has announced plans to launch what it has deemed a ‘high-level inquiry into the state of competition in the information and communications technology sector’, TechCentral reports. According to the regulator, the telecoms sector has undergone some rapid technological changes, which have implications for the local and international industries, and the inquiry will ‘develop a full appreciation of the implication of these unfolding changes and developments on the regulation of competition in the sector.’ ICASA continues: ‘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’. Another issue is the impact of market consolidation on the state of competition, the cost to communicate and bridging the digital divide.
The regulator’s announcement comes hot on the heels of a roaming agreement signed by MTN South Africa and Telkom, under which the latter agreed to outsource the management and development of its radio access network (RAN) to MTN in a move designed to reduce the financial losses in its mobile division. Further, Vodacom is in discussions to take over its smaller rival Neotel, with the potential transaction rumoured to include Neotel’s spectrum assets as well.