Until now, it’s been relatively smooth sailing for Vodacom, the mobile operator that generates the vast majority of its profits from SA’s telecommunications market. But that’s changing. For a start, MTN has vastly improved its network to challenge Vodacom’s leading position in SA, while Cell C is healthier after a recapitalisation deal and Telkom Mobile has carved out a niche for itself among heavy data users. And whether for good or bad, regulators in SA are starting to find their voices.As the local market leader, Vodacom is most exposed. CEO Shameel Joosub has gone so far as to say the impending Electronic Communications Amendment Bill is the industry’s equivalent of the mining charter, which has been blamed for suppressing investor appetite in the resources sector. In addition to the bill, which proposes that mobile operators share their spectrum and other infrastructure, Vodacom and its peers must also contend with new data-expiry rules. The end-user & subscriber service charte...

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