Press release: Time to Focus on Mobile Data

Published on: 2014-03-13

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While ICASA’s focus on voice call termination rates is both welcome and necessary, there remain more pressing areas of focus that the regulator should be concentrating on.

“Voice remains a significant issue for the average consumer. At the same time, voice revenue to providers is declining year-on-year. The growth is in data, and ISPA believes that it is well past time for ICASA to get to grips with the competitive and pricing issues relating to broadband and data services. Most notably, the high cost of mobile data services and the lack of wholesale offerings from the network operators,” said Dominic Cull, ISPA regulatory advisor.

Unfortunately, he adds, the current signs are not particularly positive, as mobile data prices remain high and the network operators continue – in the absence of any regulatory pressure – to drag their feet on introducing genuine wholesale offerings. These would, in turn, facilitate downstream competition and lead to lower retail prices as has happened in the fixed line data market.

Cull notes that where a genuine wholesale offering has been made available, such as has happened between MTN and Afrihost, the consumer benefits have been both immediate and compelling.

“At the same time ICASA’s thinly-stretched resources are consumed by processes and litigation addressing issues which changes in technology are making increasingly irrelevant in the medium-to-long-term. The regulator has very limited capacity to plan for what is coming.”

“What ISPA is ultimately suggesting is that both ICASA and the service providers should be looking to the future rather than the past. ISPA is of the opinion that with the inevitability of everything, including voice, converging to IP, a shift in focus is required. What we would like to see is more emphasis being placed on what a world – where all services, including voice calls, are received through an IP or broadband connection – will look like,” Cull concludes.

Further Information

For further information, please contact the ISPA secretariat on the Contact ISPA page.