DTPS amending controversial telecoms bill

17 Apr 2018

South Africa’s Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services (DTPS) is redrafting the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, with minister Siyabonga Cwele set to outline more details in the department’s budget vote in parliament on 17 May. Cwele’s spokesman Siya Qoza said that the department is ‘incorporating’ feedback received from a recent workshop with industry stakeholders into the bill, which will then be presented to cabinet before being submitted to parliament for further engagement with the industry. Qoza added that the updated legislation will be discussed in parliament during the current financial year ending 31 March 2019.

TeleGeography notes that the proposed framework (published in October 2016) stated that all wireless service providers in the country would be required to return their previously assigned spectrum, which in turn would be allocated to a newly-established Wireless Open Access Network (OAN). The government has drawn heavy criticism over the amendment bill, however, with Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub saying that the bill was already scaring away investors: ‘The industry lost close to ZAR80 billion [USD6.6 billion] in [the] last year in market cap … purely because there is a lot of uncertainty.’

South Africa, Department of Communications and Digital Technologies (DCDT), Vodacom South Africa