South Africa’s telecoms committee to debate regulation of OTT services

18 Jan 2016

South Africa’s Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services is planning to hold hearings to determine whether policy interventions are required to govern over-the-top (OTT) VoIP services – including Viber, WhatsApp and Skype – in the country, TechCentral reports. According to the committee, the hearing will consider the impact of OTT services on competition and whether there is a need for such providers to be defined as telecoms services providers or telecoms infrastructure providers; the committee will also debate whether such applications should be subject to licensing and regulatory obligations. While MTN South Africa, Vodacom and Telkom have all previously called for regulations governing OTT services, Cell C has warned that such legislation ‘could be to the detriment of the industry and consumers at large’.