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Published by Priyal Shah
south africa
south africa

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Categories:Types, Research
Published by: Priyal Shah on Mar 21, 2013
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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The performance of the ICT sector in South Africa, particularly telecommunications, in
terms of identified national policy objectives which include promoting the
convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting and information technologies; the development of interoperable and interconnected electronic networks; technologically neutral licensing;universal access and connectivity for all; investment and innovation in communications;e
cient use of radio spectrum; the promotion of competition; and clear role allocation for 
 policy and regulation. It may be of significance that the provision of communications services
at reasonable prices and the promotion of consumer interests comes fairly late in the list of objectives of the Electronic Communications Act (2005), as the South Africantelecommunications market is characterised by high prices across a range of services, frommobile voice services to leased linesand bro
adband. Though again, in his first state of the nation address in 2009, the new
President of South Africa, Jacob Zuma, again lamented the high cost of communications, which the newMinister of Communications, Simphiwe Nyanda, immediately vowed to bring down.Historically, the focus by Government on the high cost of communications has failed toacknowledge this as an outcome of its policies, highlighting instead the excesses of network operators, and the need to bring political and moral pressure to bear on them. What the sector  performance review does is reveal the linkages between policy, regulation and marketoutcomes.The market, structured around a few vertically integrated operators who persist despite theintroduction of a horizontal licensing framework, requires resource-intensive accessregulation toconstantly adjust operator behaviour in response to the anti-competitive incentives inherent insuch markets. The ability of the regulatory to respond e
ectively to this, is determined atleast
 partially by the institutional arrangements, the technical capacity that resides within publicinstitutions; and the appointment of those who hold public o
ce within them. This, together withthe market structure determine policy outcomes within the sector. This study assesses theseoutcomes in terms of the competitiveness of the sector, and its delivery on key nationalobjectivesof a
ordable access to a comprehensive range of services.The following section of the paper locates the sector in the wider economy, demonstrating its
significant contribution to employment, productivity and investment. Despite this, SouthAfrica’s
suboptimal performance is evident when comparatively reviewed against other middleincomecountries and some countries in North Africa and the African island states in the major globalindices on ICTs.Increasing market concentration in the sector is then reviewed, together with increased stateownership within the sector.The policy and legal framework provides the context for the next section, which examines theinstitutional arrangements for the sector and its impact on market performance. Performanceis
assessed across fixed, mobile and internet markets in terms of access and pricing as policy
These findings are then used to consider the telecommunications regulatory environment
througha perception survey of stakeholders of the e
ectiveness of regulation within the sector. South
Africa’s weak performance across the survey categories, from mark 
et entry to tari
interconnection, scarce resource and universal services regulation, go some way to explainingthe
 poor investment environment and South Africa’s suboptimal performance.

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