Cell C claims OTT regulation in SA could be detrimental

South African operator Cell C has stated its belief that regulating OTT players could have an adverse effect on the industry.

MTN and Vodacom – the country’s largest operators – have both spoken out in favour of regulating over-the-top services such as WhatsApp and Skype, which are fast gaining popularity in South Africa.

The country’s Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services has confirmed that South African operators have lobbied for the implementation of “policy or regulation of data services on mobile networks, such that they generate revenue for carrying the data services on their bandwidth infrastructure”.

However, Cell C has adopted a different attitude towards OTT, with CEO Jose Dos Santos saying: “We strongly believe that regulating OTT players could be to the detriment of the industry and consumers at large. Contrary to our competitors, Cell C has been embracing the services offered by OTTs.”

Cell C provides its customers with access to WhatsApp for a nominal charge, and has partnered with Facebook on the social media firm’s internet.org initiative.

The portfolio committee will debate the matter at a hearing arranged for 26 January. 

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