Telecommunications minister Siyabonga Cwele at the ITU World Telecon in Durban (Supplied, ITU)
  • A top executive at Huawei expects South Africa's new electronic communications bill will bring down costs for consumers.
  • The bill will force service providers with at least 25% of South Africa's network infrastructure to share their network.
  • The telecommunications minister said he doesn't expect the bill will scare away investors. 

South Africa’s new electronic communications amendment bill could lead to cheaper data and voice prices for consumers, said Mohamed Madkour, vice-president of global wireless network marketing at Huawei Technologies.

The latest version of the bill, released in August, will force service providers with at least 25% of South Africa network infrastructure to share their infrastructure with competitors. 

The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is set to prescribe the "cost-oriented" rates these operators can charge their rivals, Business Day reported.

Madkour said it will aid the growth of the South African economy if “idle” telecommunications infrastructure is shared. 

“Of course [there will be cheaper prices]. The more you share the better for the consumer,” Madkour told Business Insider South Africa on the sidelines of the ITU Telecon World conference in Durban. 

“Make no mistake about it, the economy will be better because money will be saved. Even if it does not go to my or your pocket as consumers, it will go to buying more things like investment in the market.” 

Cell C group legal head Graham Mackinnon and vice-president of global wireless network marketing at Huawei Technologie Mohamed Madkour at the ITU World Telecon in Durban (Supplied, ITU)

Meanwhile, telecommunications minister Siyabonga Cwele said he is not concerned that the amendment bill will scare off investors in South Africa’s telecommunications industry. 

READ: Cell C says its data is 28% cheaper than a year ago – but it is charging more for voice

Analysts have previously argued that if operators are forced to share infrastructure with competitors, there will be little incentive for them to invest in spectrum and other assets.

“ I don’t think it would scare the industry per se. The bill was developed in consultation with the private sector, and it is currently at parliament where members of the public still have a chance to comment on it,” Cwele told Business Insider South Africa. 

He said the bill also calls for a wholesale network, which will be a shared network, which will help bring new entrants into the market and cut costs.