South Africa’s Minister for Communications, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, has announced plans to further liberalise the country’s telecoms sector, ramping up the pressure on incumbent PTO Telkom SA. Under the new proposals unveiled yesterday, from 1 February 2005 mobile operators will be allowed to use any fixed lines belonging to either Telkom or its rivals. Additional measures include plans to allow anybody to apply for a licence to provide public pay phone services; new rules to enable value added network service (VANS) providers to carry voice signals using any protocol and use network services of their own choice, and/or trade their networks; legislation to allow private operators to sell or sublet spare network capacity for the provision of value added services; and the introduction of a 50% discount on internet calls for schools and educational institutions. The Ministry’s latest initiative is a further body blow to Telkom’s monopoly, already impacted by the forthcoming award of a second national operator (SNO) licence on 17 September. Ms Matsepe-Casaburri hopes that the new regulations will result in lower costs for businesses and consumers by mid-2005.