Telkom and the Competition Commission have dropped their separate applications to the competition appeal court related to last year’s decision by the Competition Tribunal to hand down a R449m fine on the telecommunications operator for past anticompetitive abuses.
Competition Commission advocacy and stakeholder relations manager Trudi Makhaya tells TechCentral that both the commission and Telkom have dropped their appeals. City Press newspaper reported on the development at the weekend.
Telkom had sought a reduction in the R449m fine, while the commission was cross-appealing to the court for a heftier fine to be imposed. The commission had originally wanted a fine of about R3,5bn to be imposed on Telkom. The R449m fine is for anticompetitive behaviour by Telkom between 1999 and 2004.
A second case, involving similar complaints but in a later time period, is still pending. The appeal and the commission’s cross-appeal are separate from any settlement negotiations that may be entered into with regard to the second case, Makhaya says.
“With Telkom withdrawing its appeal, the commission also withdrew its appeal as it had been largely satisfied with the initial ruling [by the tribunal].”
TechCentral reported earlier this month that the commission had entered into talks with Telkom with a view potentially to resolving the second broad-ranging investigation against the fixed-line operator outside of the process of formal hearings.
Commission head Shan Ramburuth said that the competition regulator had entered into discussions with Telkom with a view potentially to avoiding another lengthy process related to the second complaint. The first case dragged on for more than a decade, in part because Telkom challenged the commission’s jurisdiction.
Telkom CEO Nombulelo Moholi said that the company was “always willing to settle any matter if it is in the company’s best interests to do so”. However, the discussions were “sensitive” and Telkom would not comment further.
The second case against Telkom is set to be heard by the Competition Tribunal in mid-2013. The principal complainants are Internet Solutions, the Internet Service Providers’ Association, MWeb and MTN. — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media