Business Insider Edition

SA will only have two networks in the near future, Cell C exec believes

James de Villiers , Business Insider SA
 Sep 14, 2018, 07:29 AM

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)


  • Cell C's legal head believes networks will consolidate into one or two networks in South Africa.
  • Other telecommunication companies will continue to exist, he says, but will compete on a services level.
  • The Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, finalised by Cabinet in August, calls for a shared wholesale telephone network. 

It is “inevitable” that South African telecom networks will consolidate within the next few years, Graham Mackinnon, chief legal officer at Cell C South Africa, says.

“It will just be the natural lay of the land,” Mackinnon told delegates at the ITU World Telecom conference in Durban this week.

“Infrastructure sharing and having [a] broader one network or two networks will be the way it works.” 

READ: Huawei expects lower data prices in South Africa thanks to a new law

Telecommunications companies will continue to exist, but that they will compete on a service level instead of a network level, he said. 

“I think that there will certainly be much more competition on the service layer and I agree that there is a lot of exciting consumer uses that you can’t actually predict now,” Mackinnon said.

Cell C, South Africa’s third largest cellular network provider, has recently heavily invested in entertainment offering named Black

By June, Black was the top streaming service among average internet users, Cell C said in its interim results

Meanwhile, the South African National Assembly is set to debate the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill soon.

The Bill, finalised by Cabinet 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. 

Telecommunications Minister Siyabonga Cwele previously told Business Insider South Africa that the Bill will allow for more competition in the cellular market.

That approach will help bring new entrants to the market and cut costs, Cwele said. 

This headline and article have been updated to clarify that Mackinnon referred to South Africa’s cellular network infrastructure, which may in future be owned by one or two providers  - and that the country will still have multiple service providers.

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