Icasa launches competition probe

Johannesburg - The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is launching an inquiry into the state of competition in the information and technology sector, it said on Thursday.

“The authority has powers under the Icasa Act to conduct an inquiry into a range of different issues, and in this case we are conducting under section 4b 1a which enables us to look into the objects of the law,” councillor Willie Currie told reporters in Johannesburg.

“This is not a chapter 10 market inquiry into competition at the levels of specific market segments.”

However, the inquiry could identify some market segments which should be subjected to closer scrutiny of those chapter 10 market inquiries, he said.

The inquiry was expected to take six to eight months.

Currie said the inquiry would seek to address issues, such as the current state of competition in the ICT sector as a whole and problems in creating a level playing field across all platforms.

It would also investigate the impact of convergence, net neutrality and disruptive technologies on the competitive landscape, the role of fixed (fibre) and wireless in enabling competition, and tension between consolidation and plurality in the ICT sector.

The notice of the inquiry would be gazetted soon.

Interested parties would be able to make written submissions, and then later oral submissions if Icasa decided to hold public hearings. - Sapa