South Africans have hit back at a proposal to protect the country’s mobile service providers against competition from free communication apps.
A South African women’s magazine, All4Women created the petition fighting to prevent telecoms from regulating free to use services (after downloaded) such as WhatsApp and Skype, known as over-the-top (OTT) services.
A statement released on Thursday by the Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services specified “that mobile operators are requesting that Parliament consider passing a policy or regulations of data services on mobile networks such that they generate revenue for carrying the data services on their bandwidth infrastructure”.
This request has come due to loss in profit and the effect the services have has on their bottom lines, reported TechZim.
All4Women have argued that these companies are not necessarily losing profits due to these free services, rather it is due to the fact that they overcharge and are amongst the highest rates in the world.
“We thought the whole issue of trying to regulate a communications platform is really an issue of corporate greed,” All4Women editor Sasha Wyatt-Minter told Fin24.
“We thought that the South African government can’t start listening to people who want to do things for the wrong sorts of reasons because we need to listen to the voice of South Africa, the voice of the people,” she said.
A meeting has been scheduled by the Committee for January 26 in order to discuss the regulation of OTT services.