Some Regulatory Priorities for 2010

Posted by LA Thornton on Monday, November 30, 2009
In 2009, the Altech litigation concluded, resulting in the licensing by ICASA of hundreds of potential competitors to the dominant incumbents, Telkom, Vodacom and MTN. 

Real competitiveness however relies on more than new licences.  It requires an effective legislative and regulatory framework, among other things.  I would like to take the opportunity of the year end to offer my thoughts on some regulatory priorities for 2010. 

Key aspects of an effective regulatory framework include effective and enforceable regulations regarding interconnection, carrier pre-selection, numbering and number portability, spectrum, and rights of way.  Many of these regulatory issues have been placed on the agenda already.  Carrier pre-selection, numbering and number portability, interconnection and spectrum licensing regulations have been drafted and put out for public comment by ICASA.

Some will still require intervention by the DoC and Parliament.  Spectrum regulations will likely not be finalised until after the DoC issues its spectrum policy.  Interconnection, it seems, will require amendments to the EC Act.  (See the blog post re Call Termination Rates below.)  The DoC must issue guidelines in respect of rights of way and ICASA must issue regulations.  Neither of these processes, however, are yet underway.

So what should be the priorities for 2010? 

    •    Interconnection regulations, including in respect of price - amendments to the EC Act followed by the finalisation of regulations
    •    Finalisation of numbering and number portability regulations applicable to every licensee
    •    Finalisation of spectrum policy, spectrum licensing regulations and the licensing of WiMax spectrum
    •    Rights of Way - initiation of proceedings by ICASA and the Doc

If these policy, legislative and regulatory issues are effectively dealt with in 2010, by the end of the year, the industry will be a lot more competitive, with knock-on benefits like reduced costs and improved service, not to mention a better outlook for universal service.

Tags: regulations  interconnection  numbering  "number portability"  spectrum  "rights of way" 
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