Contentious bill’s ‘open up’ plan likely to scare MTN and Vodacom
The Electronic Communications Amendment Bill finds favour among smaller operators who oppose the dominance of major players
The latest version of the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill is likely to spook Vodacom and MTN with a proposal that they open up their networks to competitors. The contentious bill, which has been revised several times and is ready to be presented to parliament, has worried investors but found support among smaller operators and those who argue that Vodacom and MTN’s dominance of the local market must be reined in. The bill says a service provider with "significant market power", or at least 25% of SA’s network infrastructure, must share its infrastructure with competitors. The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is to prescribe the "cost-oriented" rates these operators can charge their rivals, according to the bill. An MTN spokesperson told Business Day that since the latest version of the bill was not yet before parliament, "we respect the process that is required and would prefer to comment on the version that is finally sent to parliament and only once that...