Over-the-top (OTT) platforms such as WhatsApp and Skype don’t pay taxes in South Africa, said mobile network MTN.
MTN’s corporate services executive, Graham de Vries, made this claim in a presentation at a parliamentary meeting on Tuesday. The meeting discussed possible regulation for OTT services in South Africa.
Parliament’s portfolio committee on telecommunications & postal services set up the meeting after the CEOs of MTN South Africa and Vodacom last year said that OTT services don’t contribute financially to local networks.
After presentations from the likes of the executive director of Research ICT Africa, Alison Gillwald, and the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa), MTN’s De Vries addressed MPs and stakeholders.
“It’s government’s prerogative to regulate around security, tax,” De Vries told parliament.
He then further posed questions about security of personal information that OTT services have access to.
The MTN executive’s comments came after Icasa CEO Pakamile Pongwana posed questions at the meeting around OTTs. “OTTs have no licence; no obligations,” Pongwana said at the meeting.
The Icasa CEO noted that while OTT services stimulate demand for data, they make “no contribution to network investment” and that “operators have no mechanism to recover costs”.
He also said that OTT providers can’t be monitored or intercepted. — Fin24