Telecoms tower. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SUSANA GONZALEZ
Telecoms tower. Picture: BLOOMBERG/SUSANA GONZALEZ

On Tuesday, the Competition Commission said it had decided not to prosecute a complaint lodged by Cell C against rivals Vodacom and MTN for anticompetitive conduct.

The commission said there was insufficient evidence to successfully prosecute.

In October 2013, Cell C filed a complaint against MTN and Vodacom for anti-competitive behaviour related to on-net calls — calls between users of the same network.

Cell C alleged that Vodacom and MTN engaged in pricing strategies that made it cheaper to make on-net calls as compared to off-net calls — calls between users on different networks.

The commission said its decision not to refer the case to the Competition Tribunal followed a lengthy investigation, which revealed that there were several features in the mobile telephony market that affected the ability of smaller mobile operators to compete in the market.

The commission found that it would be "unlikely to succeed" in a prosecution of the specific conduct cited by Cell C’s complaint.

"However, there is evidence to suggest that this conduct and other features of the market, in particular the price differentials applied for on-net and off-net calls as well as long-term subscribers’ contracts have made it difficult for late entrants such as Cell C to compete effectively," the commission said.

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