More competition needed, says minister

Saying that the introduction of a second national operator for telephone landlines did not lead to the healthy kind of competition that they expected, the minister suggested that more operators may be needed to force the price of telecommunications down.

He also suggested that the competition authorities might have to be brought in to look at the way the market operated.

And as a last resort “if we have to use regulations then we will do that,” he said.

He told a media briefing in Parliament that the telecommunications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA, Icasa, is finalising regulations that will address competition matters.

In an effort to drive down the costs of mobile telephony, the minister added that it may be a need “for an engagement with mobile telecommunications providers as well”.

He suggested that people have complained to him about the termination costs of mobile calls made from one provider’s network to another’s.

He repeated his announcement that he intended establishing a committee of independent advisers to help with suggestions on how to drive the costs down, having already undertaken an inquiry into communications costs in comparable economies.

The inquiry reported that compared to the countries studied Malaysia, India, Chile, Brazil and South Korea South Africa’s costs are still high.

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More competition needed, says minister