The South African government is set to reform the South African telecoms market, which is dominated by the domestic incumbent, Telkom SA Ltd.
South African consumers have long complained that Telkom has been using its monopoly position to charge some of the highest telecom prices in the world, a view backed by a study from the global telecommunications consulting firm, NUS Consulting.
With the outsourcing trend, South Africa had been touted as a likely rival to Indian call centers, as it has a large English-speaking workforce on the same time zone as most of Europe. However, South Africa’s high communication costs has been cited by some IT service experts as one of the reasons for the lack of competition with the Indian alternative.
Last week the South African Communications Minister, Ivy Matsepe-Casaburri, spelled out sweeping liberalization of the industry that would effectively put an end to Telkom’s monopoly. From February next year, value-added network service providers would be allowed to carry voice calls through an internet platform, which would lower the cost of international calls.
Operators would be able to set up their own networks or use satellite services, rather than lease Telkom networks.
Meanwhile, the South African government is scheduled to license a second national operator later this month.