The electronic communications sector is now one of the most advanced infrastructure and services sectors on the African continent. However, it has had a propensity towards low levels of competition among telecoms operators. Advances in the sector include the opening up of the undersea cable markets to competition, the evolution of broadband markets, and high-speed broadband including Gigabit Internet. This gives rise to questions such as: To what extent is the electronic communications sector providing advanced infrastructures and services for communications that will impact well on transformation in other economic and social sectors – financial; real estate and business services; travel and tourism; business process outsourcing; the media; and audio-visual and entertainment sectors? And, to what extent is electronic communications infrastructure providing the networks for advanced research collaboration among African scholars and their American (North and South), Asian, Australian or European counterparts via dedicated national/regional research and education networks (NRENs and RRENs)? So many challenges remain for policy-making and for regulators, including the urgent need for regulation of radio- frequency spectrum for mobile communications and mobile data access; digital migration in the broadcast sector; pricing of electronic communications services; regulation of mobile money transactions; consumer protection in mobile money environments; and broader challenges of regulating for the digital economy, including the appropriate regulation of environments that will promote e-health services and other initiatives in the transformation of economies and society.
(LINK Centre, University of the Witwatersrand (Wits), Johannesburg, 2015-12-15) Shanapinda, Stanley
Communications regulatory frameworks are established to achieve myriad regulatory objectives. These may include affordable pricing, consumer welfare and competition. A regulatory framework is therefore endowed with regulatory governance measures and regulatory incentives to enable it to achieve these purposes. In applying these measures and incentives, the framework becomes effective, or ineffective, depending on whether the regulatory purpose is met. The purpose of this qualitative exploratory study was to assess the perceptions of the stakeholders, as active participants in the evolution of the framework, regarding the effectiveness of the types of measures and incentives implemented within the Namibian institutional context. Perception studies can be valuable because they offer insight on how the policies, laws and regulations that are implemented are viewed by the stakeholders for whom they are designed and implemented. While these are not the only inputs, knowledge of stakeholder views informs the future redesign of these measures and incentives to make the regulatory framework increasingly more effective. One of the main findings of the research was that the perceived conflict of interests between the ICT policy role of the Ministry of ICT and its shareholder role over Telecom Namibia negatively impacts competition. Its policy support for the dominant role of Telecom Namibia is in conflict with the regulatory purpose of encouraging private investment. The conclusion was that this regulatory governance design measure conflicts with the regulatory framework and requires legislative amendment and a re-design of the framework in an effort to improve competitiveness in Namibia’s electronic communications market.