Telkom has called on the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to investigate the recently-announced roaming deal between Vodacom and Liquid Telecom.
Vodacom said that its roaming agreement with Liquid Telecom will allow it to launch 5G services this year.
This follows after Liquid Telecom announced in January that it plans to launch a wholesale 5G network in South Africa in early 2020.
Vodacom’s partnership with Liquid Telecom will see it managing the network on behalf of Liquid Telecom and enabling it to launch 5G services using the company’s 3.5GHz spectrum.
“This agreement will allow Vodacom to offer customers a leading connectivity experience at a time when most 5G spectrum is yet to be assigned,” Vodacom said.
The mobile operator added that 5G services are currently being trialled ahead of a commercial launch during this year.
Entrenching market dominance
“Telkom has raised concerns with regulators that the recent agreement between Vodacom and Liquid Telecoms announced on 04 February 2020 is anti-competitive and would further entrench South Africa’s skewed market structure,” Telkom told MyBroadband.
“This is consistent with the Competition Commission’s rejection of a proposed merger between Vodacom and Neotel in 2015.”
Telkom argued that since the Commission previously raised concerns over the anti-competitive effects of Vodacom accessing Neotel’s 3.5GHz spectrum holdings, it should hold the same reservations about the deal with Liquid Telecom.
“Telkom views the contemplated transaction by Vodacom and Liquid Telecoms as a disguised spectrum trading deal or an indirect transfer of control with anti-competitive effects which the Competition Commission and High Court found to raise competition concerns,” the operator said.
“Telkom has called on the Competition Commission and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) to exercise their obligations and assess the competition effects of this spectrum trading agreement.”