Amendment to General Licence Fees Regulations

[28 March 2013] Final regulations published.

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[16 January 2013] Updated schedule for the public hearings to be held 17th and 18th January 2013

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[7 January 2013] We have obtained copies of the various submissions made by industry in response to the draft general licence fees regulations:

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[28 December 2012]Although ICASA had indicated it would not hold public hearings prior to the finalisation of the draft general licence fees regulations, it has backtracked in the face of numerous objections from industry. Hearings have been scheduled for 17 January 2013.

ICASA General Licence Fees Public Hearings Schedule

[30 October 2012]ICASA are finally taking some action to remedy some of the more obvious difficulties with the current method for calculating annual licence fees payable by electronic communications network service and electronic communications service licensees. The current formula which is based on revenue derived from licensed services less costs directly incurred in the provision of such services has proved too complex for ICASA to manage and incorporates such vagaries as to allow licensees significant leeway in terms of how they calculate the costs component.

In short (and although not the only reason) this has led to ICASA receiving a qualified audit from the Auditor-General for three years in a row and they are under significant pressure to turn this around.

The new proposed formula reverts to a calculation based on turnover from licensed services, removing the costs incurred element. This should make life easier for ICASA.

The major issue which licensees will have with the draft is that the percentage of turnover from licensed services to be paid is set at 0.75%, significantly higher than the 0.1% which applied to VANS licences before licence conversion took place in January 2009. This obviously represents a substantial increase in the cost of providing communications services in South Africa.

There are few other amendments to the existing position but these do include a proposed three year licence fee holiday for new entrants. Existing fees for various licensing applications have been adjusted for inflation.

Draft General Licence Fees Regulations

Comments are due by 5 December 2012.