The Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services has scheduled hearings into the regulation of over-the-top (OTT) services in South Africa.
According to Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions, the hearings are scheduled for 26 January 2016. The hearings are intended to consider the following:
- Necessary Policy interventions on how to govern OTTs
- Regulatory interventions on the guidelines to regulate OTTs
- Impact of OTTs on competition
- Is there a need for the OTTs to be defined as telecom services or telecom infrastructure – should they be subject to licensing and regulatory obligations (such as legal intercept and emergency call access)?
“This follows calls by Vodacom and MTN for OTT services to be regulated in South Africa, as well as the recent blocking of Viber, Skype, and WhatsApp by mobile networks in Morocco,” said Ellipsis Regulatory Solutions.
Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub and MTN SA CEO Mteto Nyati previously called for services like WhatsApp and Facebook that run “over the top” of networks to face greater regulatory scrutiny in SA.
Nyati called for Icasa to “level the playing fields” between operators and OTT players.
Joosub said the regulatory authorities needed to look at implementing rules and regulations for OTT players.