The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has said it will investigate the new expanded roaming agreement between MTN and Cell C.
This new deal builds on the existing roaming agreement that the two mobile networks entered into in 2018, which provided 3G and 4G services to Cell C customers outside of main metros.
Cell C said the new roaming agreement adheres to all applicable legal and regulatory requirements, adding that Cell C and MTN will maintain their spectrum and each party will use its own frequencies.
The network added that it would retain its licences and control of its core network, transmission, billing system, and subscriber management.
ICASA said that following statements which suggest that this deal does not require any regulatory approval, it has now commenced discussions with Cell C and MTN to clarify the arrangement.
“The Authority confirms that it has been informed of the roaming agreement by the parties,” ICASA said.
ICASA also said that it has requested all the appropriate information on the expanded roaming agreement to be provided by both parties so that their compliance with the regulation could be assessed.
“Acting in terms of Regulation 8 (1)(a) Schedule 2 of the Regulations on Standard Terms and Conditions for Individual Licences, 2010 as amended in March 2016, the Authority has requested both parties to provide all the agreements and associated information on the roaming transaction to the Authority for review and to assess compliance with the applicable law and regulations,” ICASA said.
“The question of whether any agreement that pertains to a regulated service or use of a licensed resource (such as spectrum) requires approval or triggers regulatory compliance requirements is one which the Authority can never leave to the parties alone to determine,” said ICASA CEO Mr Willington Ngwepe.