SA's competition watchdog is now having to defend itself after it announced a bombshell list of interventions to slash mobile data prices by up to 50%. It has been accused of being populist and usurping the regulatory powers of Icasa, a chapter nine institution that regulates mobile operators.
Did the Competition Commission step on the toes of telecommunications regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), when it made a surprise list of interventions for slashing mobile data prices in the country?
At first glance, it seems like the commission has overreached its mandate by recommending that the big two mobile operators, Vodacom and MTN, reach an agreement with it on "substantial and immediate reductions" on data tariffs by February 2020 -- especially prepaid monthly data bundles -- or face prosecution.
After a two-year probe into mobile data costs, the commission believes that there is scope for Vodacom and MTN to reduce data costs by 30% to 50%. And because of this, the commission was accused of being populist and usurping the regulatory powers of Icasa, a chapter nine institution that regulates mobile operators and protects consumers from unfair business practices.
The commission also declared: "All mobile operators must...