Weekly digest for 7 May 2021
KEY READING FOR THE WEEK
This week’s main story is from South Africa, where Telkom is being accused of predatory pricing. Telkom was required, as part of a deal with the Competition Commission, to split its wholesale and retail arms. The wholesale arm is called Openserve and is meant to sell services at a wholesale rate to other ISPs. However, ISPs claim that Openserve’s symmetrical 25Mbps/25Mbps fibre package has a higher wholesale price than the retail price offered by Telkom. The wholesale price is R472.50 compared to a retail price of R449 (both prices incl. VAT). Telkom has refused to respond to ISPs, claiming that it does not disclose commercial information.
OTHER WEEKLY NEWS FROM AROUND AFRICA
- Uganda: The Ugandan government is considering moves to combine the Ugandan Communications Commission (UCC) and the National Information Technology Authority (NITA). The move would give UCC control over the National Backbone Infrastructure.
- Ghana: MTN Ghana has increased its tariffs slightly to take an increase in VAT of 1% as well as an increase in the National Health Insurance Levy of 1% into account. The government says that the increases are necessary to “help the economy recover from the pandemic” (how a tax increase achieves this is a bit of a mystery)
- South Africa: Starlink is now available for pre-order in South Africa. The satellite internet service is offering speeds of between 50 to 150 Mbps.
- MTN: MTN released its quarterly results and grew its EBITDA margin from 42.7% to 44.2%. Voice grew by 7% and data by 32.7% (clearly the claim that OTTs reduce voice revenues is false).
- Nigeria: The government has extended SIM registration again until 30 June 2021 to give citizens a chance to link their SIM to their National Identification Number. This is the fourth extension since December 2020 and you have to wonder if there is any point in a deadline when it is missed so regularly.
- Malawi: TNM saw a 6% reduction in revenues. TNM must be one of the few operators in Africa that managed to reduce its revenues during a period of unprecedented demand for mobile services (see MTN’s results as a comparison).