The Competition Commission said it would not prosecute a complaint lodged by Cell C against Vodacom and MTN over “price fixing”.
The complaint against the operators was filed in October 2013 and concerned the alleged anti-competitive conduct.
The complaint was dismissed by the commission due to a lack of evidence.
Cell C alleged that Vodacom and MTN had engaged in price fixing by making it cheaper to conduct on-net calls than off-net calls. It said the price differentials applied by the companies prevented competition.
The Competition Commission found that there was insufficient evidence to prosecute the operators, while it acknowledged that the price differentials for on and off-net calls made it difficult for “late entrants” like Cell C to compete in the market.
Cell C Statement
Cell C appreciates that this matter was extremely complex as evidenced by the extensive period of time required by the Commission to investigate the complaint.
Cell C is encouraged by the Competition Commission’s acknowledgment that this pricing model made it difficult for new entrants to compete effectively and that there is a need to look at the state of competition in the mobile market generally.
Cell C has decided that it will not self-refer the matter to the Competition Tribunal and has withdrawn the complaint, but will continue to closely monitor the activities of the dominant operators to ensure that any anti-competitive conduct is addressed by the relevant authorities.