Weekly digest for 13 Aug 2021


This week’s main story is from South Africa, where ICASA is holding hearings on the Draft Mobile Broadband Services Regulations. Because South Africa is one of Africa’s most advanced markets, this process is followed closely by most African regulators. In the draft regulations, ICASA finds that MTN and Vodacom are dominant in 3 markets: retail, market for site infrastructure and the market for national roaming. As a result, ICASA is proposing a set of pro-competitive remedies that are essentially demands for data for each of the markets. For example, ICASA wants data on the effective price paid for national roaming for each roaming customer and for each roaming contract. For the retail market, ICASA wants data on the effective price paid for the prepaid, hybrid and postpaid segments. In their response to the draft regulations, Vodacom argues (as would be expected) that this level of data request is too granular and imposes a “significant, unintended harm” to the sector. On the face of it, this is a ridiculous over-dramatization by Vodacom of what is essentially a set of data requests from the regulator. A far more effective response would have been to list what information would be useful to ICASA and how it could be used. Hopefully, the hearings that are conducted today will clarify Vodacom’s response.

  • South Africa: Approximately 35% of Cell C’s traffic is now on MTN’s network. MTN is also finalizing the sale and leaseback of its tower portfolio by the end of September.
  • Zambia: Zambia has shutdown Facebook, Twitter, WhatsApp and Instagram as of Thursday the 12th of August during the counting of the ballots for the general election. Of course, people can bypass the shutdown by using a VPN.
  • MTN: Group interim results for the period ended 30 June 2021 have been released. Revenues increased by 19.7%, with the main growth coming from South Africa, Nigeria and Ghana.
  • South Africa: MTN will cut its 30-day data bundles in the next few weeks. Packages lower than 1GB will be reduced by up to 26%, 1GB by 14% and over 1GB by up to 60%.