Since announcing on Monday that it had decided to approve Vodacom’s R7bn acquisition of Neotel, communications regulator Icasa has gone to ground, not revealing — as it had promised to do — the reasons for its decision.
Now Cell C has raised its concern about the lack of communication, in a statement saying Icasa has remained mum on the approval, despite requests for more information.
“Cell C is concerned that four days since the apparent approval of the Vodacom-Neotel transaction, Icasa has not published its decision nor explained the reasons for this decision. With the exception of comments attributed to the outgoing chairman, Stephen Mncube, in a news report, Icasa has remained mum on the approval of this transaction.”
Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka confirmed to TechCentral on Monday that the regulator had decided to approve the deal, subject to conditions, and that further details would be provided at a media conference on Wednesday. That media conference never took place.
Maleka could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
“Considering the magnitude of such a decision and potential negative impact on the industry, market structure and economy, Cell C is concerned by Icasa’s silence on the matter,” the mobile operator said in its statement.
“Furthermore, there has been no mention of the most contentious issue raised by various industry stakeholders, namely the ownership and transfer of spectrum. The only confirmation Cell C has received to date is in the form of a letter from Neotel informing Cell C of Icasa’s approval and the ‘short public consultation’ that is pending on the conditions,” it said.
“Cell C has written to the authority seeking formal confirmation and an explanation of its decision. In written submissions and at the public hearings held in 2015, the telecommunications operators overwhelmingly rejected the proposal from Vodacom and Neotel, as it will be detrimental to the industry and consumers. Cell C will remain steadfast in its opposition to this merger and will use any and all legal avenues to do so.” — © 2015 NewsCentral Media