THE INTERNET Service Providers’ Association of South Africa (ISPA) has called on the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) to reconsider the extent to which it micromanages the affairs of licensees and the industry.
ISPA said it acknowledged that Icasa had an important role to play in transforming the ICT sector.
Dominic Cull, ISPA regulatory adviser, said: “However, when it comes to commonplace business transactions within the industry, we believe the regulator is over-regulating by inserting itself into and delaying commercial deals involving the transfer of a licence or transfer of control over a licence.”
Cull said transfers of ownership of or control over licences took Icasa up to 180 working days to process and cost an applicant in the region of R70 000 per licence.
“In practice, parties may reach a commercial agreement but must then wait for up to 180 working days to get approval from a regulator. This is clearly at odds with reasonable commercial practice and acts as an impediment to growth and transformation of the sector by disincentivising investment and entry into the sector.”
According to ISPA, there are more than 500 individual licensees authorised to deploy networks and provide services across South Africa.
“The Competition Commission is well aware of levels of concentration of ownership and control in the sector and already plays the role of ensuring that transfer of ownership or control of a licence does not have anti-competitive effects: there is no need for Icasa to adopt an expansive attitude to its role.”