Checkers Rewards Programme Has Attracted Over 4.7 Million Customers

Checkers, Africa’s largest supermarket group in November 2019 introduced its new rewards programme, called Checkers Xtra Savings. The programme was to compete with Pick...

Latest Posts

MTN Takes Interim Measures To Preserve Liquidity of MTN Zakhele Futhi

The liquidity of MTN Zakhele Futhi has been impacted by MTN’s decision not to declare a dividend in its financial results for the six...

Spring Into Action This Spring – 6 Steps To Buying The Perfect Home

Spring is one of the best seasons to buy a home. The weather is warming and the positive shift in weather is prompting people...

Lawyer Belinda Mapongwana Appointed as Chairperson of MTN Zakhele Futhi

MTN Zakhele Futhi, the black economic empowerment scheme of MTN Group, has tapped lawyer Belinda Mapongwana as its chairperson. Mapongwana will replace Sindisiwe Mabaso-Koyana, who...

Avon Commemorates International Peace Day With a Premier Film on Domestic Violence

Global beauty and cosmetics company Avon will be joining the global community in commemorating International Peace Day on September 21, and the company will...

A victory for SA’s mobile users: Cell C CEO

Consumers are the big winners in the High Court’s judgment against Vodacom’s acquisition of Neotel licenses. By Jose Dos Santos,Cell C CEO


It is hard to paint a rosy picture of telecommunications in South Africa. The environment is dominated by two players and policed by a regulator that does not always meet its mandate. In the end all that grief is passed onto South African mobile and internet users, who carry the brunt of some of the highest telecommunications costs in the world.

The only true solution to this impasse is an open and competitive market, made possible by a level playing field. This is why several industry players chose to oppose the planned merger between Vodacom and Neotel. In 2014 Vodacom, South Africa’s largest mobile operator, announced plans to buy Neotel, the country’s second-largest fixed-line operator.

Jose Dos Santos, Cell C's CEO
Jose Dos Santos, Cell C’s CEO

If Vodacom were to acquire Neotel’s vast fibre networks as well as its mobile spectrum, it would render the company’s iron grip on the market into an unassailable monopoly able to dictate the price consumers pay to connect.

Spectrum is a key concern: defined as the radio frequencies used to transmit (among other things) mobile signals, spectrum is essential for delivering faster internet to a growing user base. Already this is a pinching nerve for mobile operators, as spectrum is not only scarce but licenses for it are very difficult to acquire.

Vodacom’s takeover of Neotel would have delivered substantial amounts of this valuable commodity to the former, translating into an incredible and unfair advantage that could only hurt the market and ultimately consumers. Even the Competition Commission noted this, advising a number of conditions that included Vodacom be barred from using Neotel’s spectrum for more than two years.

Yet even though Vodacom decided to modify its deal and exclude spectrum licenses, the High Court’s decision to set aside approval of the merger is a clear victory for South Africa’s broadband market and the consumers it serves. But perhaps even more key is the finding that the industry regulator ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of SA) did not act appropriately. Its behaviour, incredibly, included private meetings with Vodacom.

The High Court Judge said that “[f]or an administrator to attend a private meeting with one of the parties under these circumstances is, in my view, not only improper, but also unlawful.”

Given its past actions, which included fighting cuts to already-expensive mobile termination rates, there is little doubt that Vodacom would have used its acquired girth to continue forcing the market into inadvertently punishing consumers.

Likewise, the High Court has laid bare how ICASA failed to meet one of its most basic requirements of its existence: The creation of competition in the telecommunications industry.  By not considering the potential anti-competitive effects of the proposed merger – facts they had at hand – ICASA failed its statutory obligation to promote competition that brings about affordable prices for consumers.

But while this battle is won, the war continues. Even though the ruling puts a stop to the spectrum takeover, any merger between Vodacom and Neotel should be opposed. It would make it even harder for newcomers to compete in and grow South Africa’s internet market. As the need to connect more South Africans to the Internet and the demand for affordable broadband services continue to grow, every measure should be taken to ensure a responsible and fair market – one that ultimately provides better services for less to all South Africans.

This is not simply a matter of market share, but an issue that concerns all of us. Cell C welcomes the High Court’s judgment and commits itself to continue the fight for a South African internet we can all participate in.

Email TechFinancials.co.za at editor@techfinancials.co.za

Latest Posts

MTN Takes Interim Measures To Preserve Liquidity of MTN Zakhele Futhi

The liquidity of MTN Zakhele Futhi has been impacted by MTN’s decision not to declare a dividend in its financial results for the six...

Spring Into Action This Spring – 6 Steps To Buying The Perfect Home

Spring is one of the best seasons to buy a home. The weather is warming and the positive shift in weather is prompting people...

Lawyer Belinda Mapongwana Appointed as Chairperson of MTN Zakhele Futhi

MTN Zakhele Futhi, the black economic empowerment scheme of MTN Group, has tapped lawyer Belinda Mapongwana as its chairperson. Mapongwana will replace Sindisiwe Mabaso-Koyana, who...

Avon Commemorates International Peace Day With a Premier Film on Domestic Violence

Global beauty and cosmetics company Avon will be joining the global community in commemorating International Peace Day on September 21, and the company will...

Don't Miss

Telkom Taps Ex-MTN Executive and Openserve Boss as Board Members

Telkom has announced the appointment of new board members after the retirement of independent non-executive directors Santie Botha and Khanyisile Kweyama. Botha and Kweyama will...

Vodacom Zero-Rates New COVID Alert SA App

This past week, the national Department of Health (DoH) launched a COVID Alert SA App – in partnership with Discovery - to strengthen the...

Judi Bola Online: A Complete Guide on Sports Betting

Games or sports have always been a relaxing and entertaining activity for all of us. There are different kinds of outdoor and indoor games...

Vodacom Joins SADC’s TCIB Instant Payments Scheme

Vodacom Group and the SADC Banking Association have signed a memorandum of understanding that will allow the Vodacom Group to join the South African...

New York-Based DCG Buys Naspers-Backed Luno

Luno, one of the largest crypto exchanges in Africa, has been bought by New York-based Digital Currency Group (DCG). Luno is backed by Naspers and...

Stay in touch

To be updated with all the latest news, offers and special announcements.