Independent Communications Authority of South Africa

Pinmill Farm, 164 Katherine Street, Sandton
Private Bag X10002, Sandton, 2146


Embargoed until 2:00pm, 22nd November 2004

On the 3rd of September 2004, the Minister of Communications, Dr. Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, published various determinations as per the Telecommunications Act, Act 103 of 1996, as amended ("the Act") in Government Gazette 26763 Notice 1924 of 2004.

Following this publication, ICASA held a two-day colloquium on the 20th and 21st October 2004 to engage the sector on the ambit and scope of the determinations and to gauge industry's views on their impact from a regulatory point of view.

In addition to the colloquium, over 30 written submissions were received from licensees and interested parties documenting their views on the impact of the Ministerial Determinations. These were made available on the ICASA website.

The Authority undertook an audit of regulations, embarked on further research and considered the public submissions made. The Authority now wishes to offer its understanding of the Ministerial Determinations and announce the programme schedule to be followed in an attempt to comply with 1 February 2005 (1/2/5) and 18 January 2005 in the case of the e-rate.

The Authority acknowledges that:

  1. The Ministerial Determinations were not published in a vacuum. They are the product of a policy trajectory that was begun with the White Paper on Telecommunication Policy, Government Gazette 16995 of 13 March 1996. These determinations facilitate further liberalization of the South African telecommunications sector and offer numerous consumer benefits. They do not however provide immediate solutions to the critical challenges of ensuring universal and affordable access to telecommunications services - a goal enunciated in the White Paper process and animated in subsequent legislation.
  2. In light of the above, and with the knowledge that further liberalization of the sector will increase consumer choice, ICASA will also be examining ways of reducing the cost of communications and strengthening consumer voice and participation as active users of communications services. While further liberalization offers many opportunities for subscribers, customers, operators and service providers alike, a growing market also offers continued prospects of consumer exploitation.
    ICASA will ensure that consumers are aware of their rights and that the sector is adequately monitored for abuse, particularly with regard to end users.

  3. The objectives outlined in section 2 of the Act, remain the governing mandate for ICASA, and provide content to the purpose of regulating telecommunications in the public interest.

The following is the Authority's understanding of the Ministerial Determinations:


  1. This determination will apply to MCTS licensees.
  2. A MCTS operator may self provide its own fixed lines, by obtaining telecommunication facilities for fixed lines from any telecommunication facility supplier of their choice, but still needs to use those facilities under and in accordance with its own telecommunication service licence.
  3. If a MCTS operator does not self provide their own fixed lines, such operators may only lease fixed lines from any persons who are duly authorised to provide telecommunication services under and in accordance with a telecommunication service licence, and only utilise those facilities for fixed line purposes.
  4. No Regulations are contemplated for 1 February 2005 (1/2/5).


  1. The Authority is developing a technology neutral Regulatory Framework for the provision of Public Pay Telephone Services.
  2. The incumbent operators will continue to provide Public Pay Telephone Services per their existing licences. However, in instances where a 3rd party provides Public Pay Telephones Services, that party will require a Public Pay Telephone Service licence and/or an authorization from the Authority to do so.
  3. All incumbent Public Pay Telephone Service providers will be subject to the new Regulatory Framework for Public Pay Telephone Services.
  4. Regulations are being developed in this regard.


  1. In the interests of consumer welfare, the Authority may require providers of VoAP services, to amongst others publish comparable, adequate and up to date information for end users on available services, i.e. emergency services, and quality of service (QoS) and service levels.
  2. VANS licensees offering voice services will be required to provide access to emergency services via the 112 national emergency service number.
  3. Regulations regarding numbering will be aligned to accommodate VANS licensees.
  4. The Authority will revise the interconnection and facilities leasing guidelines and regulations in the light of the new market landscape and anticipated market entrants and will develop an interconnection framework for all licensees.


  1. VANS may self-provide facilities from 1 February 2005. Self-provision contemplates the procurement of telecommunication facilities by a VANS licensee from any telecommunication facility supplier and to use them under and in accordance with its licence to provide telecommunication services.
  2. The Determinations do not in any way affect the current restrictions in relation to the ISM band.
  3. The Authority will review licence terms and conditions for VANS.


  1. PTN operators may resell spare capacity to any person.
  2. As a result of the potential commercial nature of PTNs from 1 February 2005, the Authority may review licence terms and conditions.


  1. The e-Rate will be applicable from 18 January 2005 to all public schools as defined in the South African Schools Act of 1996 and all public further education and training institutions as defined in the Further Education and Training Act of 1998.
  2. Schools as contemplated in section 45(3) of the Act have the right to choose their own service providers.


Based on an internal audit of regulatory amendments, ICASA has established the following work programme:

  1. The amended VANS Regulatory Framework will be expedited through a fast track process in the public interest with the intention to have applicants licensed before 1 February 2005.
  2. Several regulations/amendments required, with the exception of the interconnection and facilities leasing guidelines/regulations, will be gazetted for public comment by 29 November 2004.
  3. Public comment will be due for submission by 7 January 2005.
  4. Public hearings will be held in the second week of January 2005.
  5. Final amended regulations will be forwarded to the Minister, where required by 21 January 2005.
  6. A final work programme for the interconnection and facilities leasing guidelines will be made public shortly, subject to finalization. It is the Authority’s intention that this framework is finalized no later than 28 February 2005.