Telkom has filed papers in the North Gauteng High Court requesting it to review the process undertaken by Icasa when it approved the merger of Vodacom and Neotel, stating that the communications regulator failed to adequately take into account various considerations.
According to Telkom spokesman Jacqui O’Sullivan, Telkom has approached the high court on a “semi-urgent basis” for an interim order to suspend the implementation of the Icasa decision pending the resolution of a final review.
“Telkom believes the authority should have closely considered the effect on competition and market structure of the transfer of control of spectrum licences, and imposed appropriate licence conditions to maintain a level playing field,” O’Sullivan said.
“In addition, the authority was prompted to consider whether this transaction negates the objects of the Electronic Communications Act in relation to BBBEE and, if it did, to make an appropriate determination and/or impose appropriate licence conditions,” she said.
This comes after Icasa approved the deal under a set of conditions, which cover BEE requirements and broadband roll-out conditions.
Under the BEE requirement Vodacom and Neotel are required to ensure that 30% of the equity ownership of the individual licence be held by persons from historically-disadvantaged groups.
Icasa is also considering imposing a condition that at least 25% of any broadband roll-out by Neotel following the deal be undertaken in under-serviced areas.
Icasa’s approval followed that of the Competition Commission, which also recommended that the deal be approved, with conditions.
The Competition Commission recommended that Vodacom shall not directly or indirectly use Neotel’s spectrum for a period of two years from the approval date and requires Vodacom to commit to a R10-billion investment in fixed network, data, and connectivity infrastructure, as well as their own BEE requirement.