The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has published its discussion document on the mobile broadband services inquiry for public comment.
Interested stakeholders have 45 working days from the date of publication to provide input on the preliminary findings of Icasa’s definition of relevant mobile broadband services markets and the effectiveness of competition within these relevant markets.
“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,” Icasa said in an update released on Friday.
The authority in late 2018 launched an inquiry into the mobile broadband market as part of its efforts and interventions to reduce the high cost to communicate in the country.
It marked the third intervention by Icasa following the amendment and final publication of the end-user and subscriber service charter regulations and the call termination regulations last year.
“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,” Icasa councillor Botlenyana Mokhele said at the time.
In 2018, Icasa concluded its priority markets inquiry, which identified broad markets for mobile services, including the retail market for mobile services and the wholesale supply of mobile network services, for prioritisation for a market review.
The discussion document, informed by information and data received from licensees, identifies licensees that may have significant market power in the identified markets and proposes procompetitive remedies.
In addition, the authority believes 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.
“The authority is also aware that the Competition Commission announced that it will be releasing its final report on data services market inquiry on December 2,” it said.
“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.”