South Africa: Icasa goes after cellular retailers

Telecoms

The communications regulator has threatened to take "enforcement action" if retailers continue to fail to comply with regulations.

Communications regulator Icasa has conducted spot inspections of the retail outlets of South Africa’s mobile network operators and found that two-thirds of them don’t comply with regulations.

According to Icasa, the inspections were conducted in terms of the regulations on code of conduct for licensees, which were published in 2007.

The regulations prescribe guidelines on the standard of conduct to be adhered to by licensees in their interactions with consumers and set out the rights of consumers in the electronic communications sector, it said in a statement.

“Icasa officials inspected 162 retail outlets across the country through which consumers obtain mobile services,” it said.

The sample comprised 30% Vodacom outlets, 26% MTN, 17% Cell C and 9% Telkom, with the balance coming from “other licensees”.

It’s the first time that Icasa has assessed compliance by mobile network operators with the regulations.

“In terms of the regulations, licensees are required to display a code of conduct at their stores. The compliance inspections assessed whether there was compliance with this requirement,” it said in the statement.

It found that 67% of the outlets inspected were not complaint in that the code was either not displayed or was not clearly visible as required.

“As regards the requirement to ensure the availability and visibility of the consumer complaints process in all outlets as set out in clause 3.13 of the regulations, 64% of the outlets inspected were noncompliant,” it added.

“Furthermore, the inspections revealed that there was a general lack of awareness of the authority and the regulations among the inspected outlets.”

Icasa said it views the level of noncompliance in a “serious light” and has issued an instruction to all licensees to “remedy areas of noncompliance by 30 June 2016”.

“Failure to do so will result in the institution of enforcement action,” it said.
Source: Techcentral 31 March 2016