ISPs have a plan to slash mobile data prices – if Icasa will play ball

The Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa) – an industry body that represent most of South Africa’s community of ISPs – wants the country’s communications regulator to crack open South Africa’s mobile industry to greater competition.

Ispa said on Monday that it wants Icasa to use regulations it is currently crafting to be used to open up the mobile sector to the same sort of competition that exists in fixed-line data, where hundreds of ISPs compete with one another using fixed infrastructure from the likes of Telkom and Vumatel. Ispa has been lobbying for these measures for years.

The association wants Icasa’s mobile broadband services regulations, which are still in draft form, to define wholesale and retail markets for the provision of mobile broadband services.

“The regulations are based on Icasa’s finding that there is ineffective competition in these markets,” Ispa said in a statement. “While there is ineffective competition, there is no lack of potential competitors.

“A client of a certain mobile network should not necessarily have to purchase their mobile data from that network. Mobile users should be provided with a choice of resellers, all competing to provide the best data deal. This is the situation with the open-access fibre network model that has delivered high-quality broadband at affordable rates in South Africa.

“ISPs would welcome being able to service the corporate APN and consumer market aggressively but when approaching the mobile operators, no wholesale products are available or they are quoted a wholesale rate that is above the retail rate. This makes it impossible to compete on price with the incumbents,” said Ispa. (An APN, or access point name, is a gateway between the mobile network and the Internet.)  — © 2021 NewsCentral Media