MTN Group on Wednesday issued a statement to investors, via the JSE’s stock exchange news service, in which it criticised the Competition Commission’s final report on the data services market in South Africa, saying it will “vigorously defend against over-broad and intrusive recommendations” by the commission.
Among other radical interventions announced in the report, the summary findings of which were released on Monday, the commission intends to prosecute MTN South Africa and rival Vodacom if they don’t immediately reduce prepaid data prices by as much as 50%.
The commission also wants all operators to provide a free “lifeline” daily data allowance — it hasn’t said how much data this should be — to all South Africans.
“We reiterate comments made earlier in the year that MTN South Africa has substantially reduced the effective price of data in South Africa, having also invested heavily in the network to accommodate growing data demand with limited spectrum availability,” MTN said in the statement to shareholders.
“MTN Group has invested over R50-billion in the South African network in the last five years and has pledged a further R50-billion of investment over the next five years as part of delivering a world-class network for all South Africans,” it said.
“We remain committed to providing high-quality, affordable data and connectivity to our customers in all our markets. We will continue with our pricing transformation initiatives across all our markets to make our services more affordable for customers.
“Radio spectrum is the digital highway upon which we depend to carry increasing mobile data at more cost-effective prices. This is acutely felt in South Africa, which has among the lowest spectrum allocations in all our markets. The release of new spectrum in this market will greatly assist our ability to service more customers with more data traffic.”
The operator said: “We respectfully disagree with the analysis and recommendations contained in the summary report and, as we study the full report, will continue to engage constructively and vigorously defend against over-broad and intrusive recommendations”.
Shares in South Africa’s listed telecommunications companies, including MTN’s, have fallen sharply since the commission published details of the final report on Monday. — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media