Telkom loses appeal against leasing facilities to other network operators

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has welcomed the ruling of the Supreme Court of Appeal against Telkom regarding the leasing of its facilities to network operators.

Telkom had sought to review a decision by ICASA to direct the operator to lease its ducts to Vodacom in some residential estates in the Western Cape.

This, the Authority had argued, was required in terms of section 43 of the Electronic Communications Act of 2005 (ECA).

“In its order, the SCA dismissed Telkom’s application for leave to appeal with costs on the grounds that there are no reasonable prospects of success in an appeal and there is no other compelling reason why an appeal should be heard,” ICASA stated.

Telkom’s petition for leave to appeal to the SCA followed the Pretoria High Court ruling in favour of Vodacom on the matter in August 2020.

Telkom’s application to appeal that decision in the High Court was also dismissed with costs.

Leasing regulations benefit customers

ICASA Chairperson Keabetswe Modimoeng said that the leasing of facilities within the telecommunications sector was common around the world, and that ICASA had developed regulations in this regard.

“We indeed welcome the SCA ruling as it clearly shows that our regulations are indeed critical for the advancement of the sector,”

“We encourage our licensees – in this case Telkom to accept regulatory measures put in place for the benefit of consumers and the public at large,” Modimoeng added.

ICASA said that the SCA ruling provides much needed clarity to the sector in that it in effect reaffirms the High Court’s interpretation of section 43 of the ECA and the criteria to be used by the Authority to adjudicate facilities disputes.

“ICASA remains committed to ensuring regulatory enforcement in line with the Authority’s public interest mandate, with a view to ensuring that all South Africans have access to a wide range of communication services at affordable prices,” the Authority concluded.

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Telkom loses appeal against leasing facilities to other network operators