Telkom welcomes licensing of SNO

Although the entrance of the country’s second national operator (SNO) is seen as a threat to Telkom’s future revenues, the dual-listed telecommunications giant on Friday said it welcomes Minister of Communications Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri’s granting of the licence to the second operator.

“Telkom welcomes the minister’s announcement on granting a PSTS [public switched telecommunications services] licence to the SNO as part of continuing with the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector,” Telkom spokesperson Ravin Maharaj said.

“Telkom is looking forward to robust competition.”

The PSTS licence granted to SNO is the same licence that Telkom has.

With the imminent entrance of its rival, the group is set to compete with voice-over-internet protocol operators and PSTS service-based competition.

The group said it is not threatened by the latest telecommunication sector developments, but rather hails it.

“We believe further competition will create more choice and increase availability of infrastructure to the public and this will ultimately benefit the continued development of the first and second economy,” Maharaj added.

South African specialised business process eQuals Group on Friday said the entry of Telkom’s rival bodes well for entrepreneurs and small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

“If this ultimately results in telecommunications costs coming down, it can only be a shot in the arm for entrepreneurs and for small businesses in general,” the group said in a statement, noting that SMEs is one of the sectors where real employment is being created.

“It is also a fillip, in general, for outsourcing, in particular for call centres. This is also a domain in which there is growing job creation for South Africans and if telecommunications costs come down, we will be able to compete more competitively from a global perspective.”

SNO might not see light of day

The chances are that the SNO will not see the light of day, said official opposition communications spokesperson Dene Smuts.

Smuts, a Democratic Alliance MP, said the licensing is rendered meaningless “given the fact that the 19% shareholder Nexus is taking the process on judicial review. Nexus is fully within its rights in doing so.”

The MP said only the belated gazetting a fortnight ago of measures permitting resale, self-provisioning, voice-over-internet protocol and other forms of liberalisation that will challenge Telkom “and allow our telecoms and IT industries to flourish” rescued Matsepe-Casaburri’s ministry from condemnation.—I-Net Bridge

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