Now MTN, Cell C mull action over Neotel - TechCentral

Now MTN, Cell C mull action over Neotel

Icasa ... in the firing line

Icasa … in the firing line

Mobile operators MTN and Cell C are both giving serious consideration to taking communications regulator Icasa to court over its decision to approve the transfer of Neotel’s licences to rival Vodacom. Telkom on Thursday filed court papers challenging the decision.

Vodacom is attempting to buy 100% of Neotel for R7bn in cash, but both MTN and Cell C have expressed strong reservations about the potential anticompetitive impact of such a move.

On Thursday, Telkom filed papers at the high court in Pretoria seeking an interim order to have Icasa’s decision to approve the deal, with conditions, set aside, pending a full review.

Among other things, Telkom says Icasa failed to create the necessary regulations under the law that would have allowed it to consider the matter.

Now Cell C and MTN look set to file legal papers of their own, potentially putting a big hurdle in front of Vodacom’s successful conclusion of the Neotel deal.

MTN South Africa GM for regulator affairs Graham de Vries tells TechCentral the company has not yet made a final decision on whether to pursue action against Icasa, too.

“We are waiting for the Telkom documentation. It has not been served on us yet,” he says.

He says MTN intends studying the Telkom papers before making a decision on which course to take.

One option, he says, would be for MTN to join Telkom’s application.

Cell C, meanwhile, says it “intends to challenge Icasa’s decision”.

“We are finalising our approach with our legal advisers in this regard,” says Cell C spokesman Karin Fourie.  — (c) 2015 NewsCentral Media

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