Towards evidence-based ICT policy and regulation – Volume 2 Paper 6
The South African telecoms sector has been in flux over the last decade from a policy and regulatory perspective. Sub-optimal outcomes after the first phase of reform saw the partial privatisation of the incumbent and the entry of a third mobile operator. In the second phase another national fixed-line operator entered the market and the market was further liberalised through the enactment of the Electronic Communications Act in 2005. This was hailed as legislation that unshackled the market constraints and enabled the optimisation of a converged environment. But the anticipated opening up of the market has been hampered by a number of legal and regulatory bottlenecks. The Act placed an onerous administrative task on the regulator. This ranged from the conversion of existing licensees to the new horizontal licensing framework, to the coordination of market definition studies for the resulting new competitive market regulation. As a result, the period under review – 2008–2009 – has seen the telecoms industry in a state of stagnation, confusion and litigation.