The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has approved the transfer of Dark Fibre Africa’s network and service licences.
In a statement issued on Wednesday, Icasa said it approved a series of transfers on 21 October 2022, which take effect on 1 December 2022.
Ownership of Dark Fibre Africa’s I-ECS and I-ECNS licences transfer to a company called “NewCo” — a placeholder name for the recently launched Maziv.
I-ECS stands for Individual Electronic Communications Service. Similarly, I-ECNS is an acronym for Individual Electronic Communications Network Service.
Maziv is a Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH) subsidiary and houses the fibre assets of Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa (DFA).
Should a proposed deal between Vodacom and CIVH receive regulatory approval, the mobile operator will also transfer its fibre assets to Maziv.
Although Maziv owns the licences, control of DFA’s licences has been transferred to Vodacom.
“The approval is, however, subject to the imposition of special licence conditions relating to the provision of open-access network services, along with limitations on ownership and control,” Icasa stated.
Icasa said it only received written representations from the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa.
“Following the receipt of these written representations and written responses on 9 June 2022 and 21 June 2022, respectively, a public hearing was held on 12 July 2022,” it said.
“In line with its legislative and regulatory processes, the Authority has considered and analysed the applications and the key considerations emanating from them.”
Icasa said its analysis and evaluation took into account the following:
- equity ownership by historically-disadvantaged persons
- competition in the ICT sector
- the interests of consumers
“The Authority has approved the proposed transaction after careful consideration,” said Icasa councillor Luthando Mkumatela, who chaired the relevant committee.
“We view the transaction as unlikely to negatively impact the market while making the Transferee an effective player in the market. Additionally, the Authority views the proposed transaction to be in the best interest of the public.”
Icasa said it would publish a Reasons for the Decision document, together with the specific conditions imposed on the Maziv, in due course.