The agreement has been made an order of the tribunal, Telkom said.
“This agreement marks the beginning of a new era in the communications sector and brings to a close a variety of complaints against Telkom lodged at the Competition Commission during the previous regulatory environment,” the operator said in a statement.
Tribunal chairman Norman Manoim said in the same statement that he “congratulated Telkom’s leadership on their courage to enter into the ground-breaking agreement”, which was reached “timeously and outside of litigation”.
“I think this has been an incredible agreement reached by both parties,” he said. “It’s certainly the most impressive consent agreement that I have seen here in my years at the tribunal and no doubt it took a lot of hard work and many hours of negotiation.”
Manoim described the agreement as a “credit to the new leadership at Telkom for creating an environment where such an agreement could be reached, and a credit to the commission for having the sophistication to negotiate an agreement of this complexity”.
Telkom group CEO Sipho Maseko said: “We believe that the conclusion of this agreement is an essential element of our transformation journey. It will allow the company to move beyond legacy complaints and litigation that have been a drag on performance, strategic focus and sound partnerships and which occupied the attention of senior executives for a long period.”
Telkom said it will now focus on implementation of all the provisions of the agreement and the compliance processes it has committed to put in place.
“Telkom is committed to complying with both the spirit and letter of the agreement,” it said. “The agreement makes provision for annual internal audits to confirm compliance, and a first independent audit to be completed within six months of the confirmation date. The company believes that the impact of the agreement over time will benefit providers of various communications services as well as consumers.”
Key aspects of the agreement include the “functional separation” of Telkom’s wholesale and retail business operations. Among other things, this will include instituting a transfer pricing process, separate internal accounts for specified products and improving the behaviour of employees of the company through a code of conduct.
“Telkom is confident that these mechanisms provide a high level of transparency to all parties in the ICT sector and marks the beginning of a new era for the company.” — (c) 2013 NewsCentral Media