The effect of the regulatory environment on telecommunications performance in South Africa
Ntombela, Simphiwe Siyabonga
ABSTRACT Telecommunications technology development has changed the world in very significant ways, and more dramatically so with the advent of mobile wireless telecommunications. The causal relationship between ubiquitous telecommunications access and socio-economic development has been proven empirically in research and a variety of case studies. Two decades after mobile telecommunications services became available in South Africa, the country has fallen behind many other nations in reaching the triple regulatory policy objectives of ubiquitous, good quality telecommunications access, available at affordable prices. Consequently, the proven socio-economic benefits that stem directly from telecommunications connectivity remain largely elusive in South Africa. This research investigates the reasons for telecommunications regulatory policy failures in South Africa, and looks for ways to improve that poor industry performance on policy objectives. This research uses interviews with purposively chosen executive leadership in the telecommunications industry to collect data. Grounded theory is used as the primary analysis strategy, and mathematical modelling using Fuzzy Cognitive Mapping (FCM) as a secondary one. The principal finding of this report is that the main telecommunications policy objectives are unlikely to be achieved simultaneously within the current industry structure. This reality presents a tricky challenge to the regulatory authorities because it indicates contradicting policy prescriptions. The report discusses the regulatory options available to the authorities and provides a prognosis of their effect on the performance of the industry. The report concludes with comments on the strategic shifts that the industry players could make to meet the regulatory authorities half way.
Telecommunication policy -- South Africa