Cell C Says MTN And Vodacom Declared War on Consumers With WhatsApp Regulation


As rift between the Over-The-Top services and other telecommunication companies get worse, Cell C decides to opt out from the OTT regulations as it described it to be self centered. The Cell C CEO, Jose Dos Santos said that regulating  OTTs like whatsApp is possible as MTN and Vodacom have declared war on them.

“MTN and Vodacom have declared war on consumer interests. The infamous duopoly wants to limit how we use Internet services like WhatsApp – and it has nothing to do with fairness, competition or the future of South Africa. To the contrary, it is all about maintaining their stranglehold on a vital artery feeding our country’s economic and social future” Jose Dos Santos said.

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It seems  that Vodacom and MTN ave collectively succeeded in lobbying the South African government to investigate potentially regulating Over-The-Top (OTT) services, like WhatsApp.  Referring to the actions of the two mobile networks,  Dos Santos said that Cell C would not pertake in manipulating the government against the people.

“companies manipulate the system to only get what they want – the customer doesn’t matter and Cell C is not a bad company ”

The two mobile networks have now successfully lobbied Government to I suppose it was inevitable, given their views of OTT applications, Vodacom, for example, believes: “You have these [OTT] players which are getting huge benefit out of an industry without making any investment” and “Operators need to continue making a return

From his statement,Dos Santos seemed to be denouncing his company’s competitors who “lobbied government to investigate potentially regulating Over-The-Top (OTT) services.

Speaking on its reason to push through with its war against the OTT, ex MTN South African CEO Ahmad Farroukh said the company can not spend billions building networks only for OTT to have a “free ride”.

In addition to this,  his successor, Mteto Nyati  said “You have to regulate them because clearly they’re making a huge amount of revenue on top of the infrastructure that the operators have paid for. Somehow they have to contribute towards the building of this infrastructure”.

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Meanwhile, reacting to the reasons given by both MTN and Vodacom for regulating the OTT, Dos Santos said Cell C believes “that OTT services encourage consumers to participate more; the more they participate‚ the more they spend”.

Santos further added that regulation will prompt OTT to withdraw their services from South Africa or even push up prices at the detriment of the consumers who had already paid for the dat to use those services.

“Regulation itself is not necessarily a bad thing and South African telecoms regulation could definitely use a little modernization. We need to ask serious questions about privacy, consumer rights and infrastructure sharing to reduce costs. But in this case, that is not Vodacom or MTN’s aim. Instead they are hoping to confuse the issue, rather than sticking to clear, reasonable arguments.

“Cell C is still a business and must make money. But good companies adapt and change to create new opportunities for themselves and their customers. Bad companies manipulate the system to only get what they want – the customer doesn’t matter.”

“As it stands‚ Cell C does not support OTT regulation in South Africa‚ because the only losers will be the people whose money make us all successful businesses in the first place‚” he added.

Santos went further to advice MTN and Vodacom  to learn to survive in a competitive world stating that connectivity is key to the welfare of a 21st century nation and these platforms had empowered individuals and communities by allowing  people to connect and be part of a global community.

“What MTN, Vodacom and their collaborators are trying to do is not addressing the big issue. They simply want to protect what they have and they are happy to sell the consumer out in order to get that. As it stands, Cell C does not support OTT regulation in South Africa, because the only losers will be the people whose money make us all successful businesses in the first place”he said.

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