The initiation of legal action is a result of the publication by ICASA – also on 29 March 2019 – of a final Ordering System Specification for Number Portability. This was the last step required to be taken before ICASA before it could set a date on which the Regulations would have come into force.
The four grounds on which Cell C seeks to have block enactment of the Regulations are that the Regulations:
- introduce an additional validation process into the porting process, which is not rationally connected to the reasons which ICASA gave for its decisions in drafting the Regulations and which will have a “substantial adverse effect” on competition between the mobile operators.
- “significantly” increase the total period allowed for completion of the port authorisation process, which is not rationally connected to the reasons which ICASA gave for its decisions in drafting the Regulations and which will have a “substantial adverse effect” on competition between the mobile operators.
- remove the prohibition on conduct amounting to winback, which is not rational, connected to ICASA’s reasons and which was opposed by all the mobile operators during the drafting process.
- introduce an impermissibly vague requirement that porting requests be verified without providing guidance on what forms of verification are permissible, making this requirement arbitrary and unreasonable.
No date has been set for the hearing of the matter and there is no indication whether ICASA will seek to oppose.
__[11 February 2019] ICASA will be holding public hearings in respect of the Draft Ordering System Specification for Number Portability on 18 February 2019 at ICASA’s head office in Centurion, the schedule for which can be found at the link below:
Submissions previously received can be found below:
___[18 December 2018] ICASA has published a Draft Ordering System Specification for Number Portability for public comment.
The Draft OSS covers porting of geographic, non-geographic and mobile numbers and has been published in terms of the Number Portability Regulations 2018.
Written submissions are due by 16h00 on Wednesday 31 January 2019 and can be emailed to Mr Lordwill Zwane, email@example.com.
The purpose of the OSS is to prescribe the process which must be followed whenever a geographic, non-geographic and mobile number or numbers assigned to a subscriber is/are ported from of one operator to another operator. This includes information which must be exchanged between operators, the format of the information, permissible times and time limits for responses and the handling of error conditions.
__[3 October 2018] ICASA has published a new set of regulations and an accompanying reasons document.
These regulations replace those published on 28 March 2018. ICASA cites an error in regulation 14 which held that the regulations would be repealed on the date they come into force as the reason for the publication of a corrected version.
The regulations will come into effect at a date to be determined by ICASA by notice in the Government Gazette (previously ICASA said they would give 60 days’ prior notice of the coming into force of the regulations but this has fallen away).
__[15 September 2018] After publishing finalised Number Portability Regulations on 28 March 2016 – which have not yet come into force – it appears that ICASA has indicated that it will publish “the Correct Number Portability Regulations” and an accompanying reasons document by no later than 28 September 2018.
The need for this “correction” stems from a threat by Cell C to institute review proceedings based on what it believes are several unlawful aspects of the regulations as published.
___[2 August 2018] ICASA has given notice to interested parties that it is undertaking a review of the Ordering System Specification Regulations 2010 to ensure they are aligned with the new number portability regime. ICASA will meet with licensees during August to get this process started.
Our understanding is that this process will need to be completed before the Number Portability Regulations 2018 come into force.
___[28 March 2018] ICASA has finalised its review of the existing regulations and published a new set of regulations governing number portability in South Africa.
Note that these regulations will only to come into force on a future date – ICASA will publish a further notice providing 60 days notice of the date they will take effect.
__[14 March 2018] ICASA’s Complaints and Compliance Committee (CCC) will be hearing a matter lodged by Transnet against Mobile Telephone Networks (MTN) due to an alleged refusal by MTN to port certain numbers to another mobile network operator in line with the Number Portability Regulations.
The CCC will be hearing this matter on an urgent basis, and a public hearing will be held at the ICASA head office (block C presentation room) at 10h00 on 19 March 2018. Any media enquiries can be directed to Paseka Maleka (firstname.lastname@example.org / 011 566 3455).
___[9 March 2018] Submissions made in respect of the Draft Number Portability Regulations 2017 can be found below:
___[28 February 2018] ICASA will be holding public hearings in respect of the Draft Number Portability Regulations on 12 March 2018 at the Authority’s offices. The schedule can be viewed at the following link:
___[4 December 2017] ICASA has published the Draft Number Portability Regulations 2017 for comment.
Submissions are due 29 January 2018 and may be sent per email to email@example.com for the attention of Mr. Lordwill Zwane.
___[26 July 2017] ICASA has published a media release on the report, which can be found at the link below:
___[1 July 2017] ICASA has published the findings of its review of the number portability regulatory regime.
The executive summary of the findings is set out below:
These are the summary of the findings which are dealt with in detail in section 2 below:
- There is strong support for the current number portability process and the role of the NPC as the central database provider (CRDB). However, all stakeholders recognise that there are performance issues that need to be addressed with a better enforced process.
- Key performance indicators (KPIs) are scarce. In particular, the Authority has only access to limited information through the NPC. Considering the under-performance of mobile portability and the issues on process inefficiencies that are recognised by all stakeholders, there is a need for sufficient information to be available to the Authority and for possible dissemination of this information to all stakeholders.
- Legacy issues have hindered geographic number portability in the past. There is, however, a strong case to lift some of the area number constraints to allow for portability based on ON codes. All stakeholders also agree that the block sizes can be reduced for increased efficiency in the process. However, it may be prudent to try and preserve the number block sizes through a different pricing mechanism.
- Stakeholders generally agree that the scope of fixed portability should be extended to non-geographic numbers – this is available in the majority of jurisdictions.
- The cost per port is generally considered to be efficient. However, there may be a need to introduce a tiered structure for geographic number portability, where fees are levied per ported block rather than per individual number, resulting in an overall lower cost (than currently) to port number blocks.
- Times to port could be reduced – in particular, real-time port is becoming a standard feature for mobile portability. However, stakeholders generally agree that times to port are currently adequate and that other issues should be addressed first (notably to streamline the escalation process and to improve the updating of routing tables). A reduction of the times to port could be a medium-term target.
- The risk of fraud or slamming has become a key concern for the industry. Some operators consider that this justifies a donor-led confirmation request. However, in line with international experience, an option to consider is adjusting the current portability process, adding an initial step whereby the CRDB sends a PIN to the customer wishing to port as an additional safety measure to ensure that the port request is not fraudulent
- Some adjustments to the current process have been proposed by the operators, including the port lock period, the causes to reject ports, winback activities and tariff transparency methods. The current process is aligned with international standards and only minor changes and clarifications should be considered.
- Customer complaints and issue escalation procedures ought to be revisited. From the review, the Authority might be required to play a more active role as an arbitrator to ensure better coordination within
- Enforcement of existing regulations could limit the issues around routing information.
- The setting up of a technical committee with industry representatives and effective governance rules would be an important step to ensure a quicker response to change requirements. The Authority’s role would be to actively coordinate the committee’s work and remain the only entity that can introduce changes to the process.
_____[20 February 2017] Responses made to the questionnaire can be found below:
___[9 February 2017] The schedule of oral presentations in response to the inquiry into number portability regulations can be found below. The hearings will take place on 16 February 2017 at ICASA’s head office.
___[27 August 2016] ICASA has given notice that it will conduct an inquiry into the existing number portability regulatory framework in order to assess whether there are any regulatory gaps given the significant increase in the number of licensees with access to numbering resources from the National Numbering Plan.
Submissions must be in the format provided as an annexure to the notice. These are to be submitted to Mr Lordwill Zwane (firstname.lastname@example.org / cc. email@example.com) by 16h30 on 28 October 2016.