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Internet providers take on mobile networks

by AKANI CHAUKE
JOHANNESBURG – SOUTH Africa’s internet firms want to compete with mobile networks in an industry characterised by cutthroat rivalry.

This comes as the overwhelming majority of South Africans access the internet using mobile devices.

Thus, the cost of mobile data is seen as having a real impact on quality of life.

Sentiments by the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) come as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is to shortly publish regulations designed to increase competition in the provision of mobile broadband services.

“While there is ineffective competition, there is no lack of potential competitors,” ISPA stated.

It represents ISPs, which have traditionally been limited to competing with each other on copper and fibre networks.

ISPA believes it is necessary for ICASA to compel the country’s mobile network operators (MNOs) to compete on price with ISPs in the provision of mobile data, particularly in the corporate market, and supports the remedies which ICASA proposes in the wholesale Access Point Name (APN) market.

ISPA stated it had noted developments around the assignment of high-demand spectrum and the licensing of a wireless open access network (WOAN) operator.

It believes the delay in completing these processes means delays in opening up competitive opportunities in the service layer.

“This should not in turn delay ICASA finalizing the Mobile Broadband Service Regulations,” it stated.

ICASA has held virtual hearings recently to enable the public to comment on its draft regulations.

Regulations are based on ICASA’s finding that there is ineffective competition in these markets.

– CAJ News

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