Communications Regulatory Authority encourages fair play in telecommunications sector
The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) through its intended competition regulations encourages open and fair competition in relevant markets within the telecommunications sector.
The intended regulations aim to see to it that licence holders in the sector become more efficient in order to offer a greater choice of products and services at lower prices, while also ensuring that they exercise market power with regard to consumer welfare and overall industry performance so as not to abuse their market power.
“The competition regulations will apply to the telecommunications markets, namely the fixed and mobile call termination market, wired end user access market, national data transmission market, and wireless end user access markets,” said Festus Mbandeka, Chief Executive Officer CRAN.
Mbandeka said this at the recently hosted public consultative meeting on the promotion of fair competition, enforcement and penalty guidelines of telecommunication services.
Furthermore, the regulations would ensure that essential facilities are available to competitors of licence holders on reasonable terms, ensure competitive outcomes in order to enhance consumer welfare and make provision for tariff application and review and promote consumer protection in the telecommunications sector.
The ‘Enforcement and Penalty Guidelines’ seeks to formulate enforcement guidelines, which will specifically focus on the manner in which investigations and inspections are conducted, how penalties are imposed in respect of offences prohibited in terms of the Communications Act and the manner in which hearings are conducted.
Mbandeka further stated that the guidelines will set a framework that will direct CRAN on what it needs to investigate, and a prioritization framework that will be used to decide whether or not CRAN should open or continue with an investigation.
However, the guidelines do not cover complaints from individual consumers, as they are already handled in terms of the regulations regarding ‘Procedures for the Adjudication of Disputes’.
“The intention to make the above regulations supports and aligns with the objectives of the Communications Act (No. 8 of 2009),” Mbandeka added.
“The guidelines are part of the Authority’s commitment to transparency in the regulation of the ICT sector, which can be achieved by delivering constructive regulatory outcomes that effectively balance the needs of industry and consumers. The guidelines further contribute to fairness, integrity and good public administration,” Head of Legal Advice at CRAN, Emilia Nghikembua said.