by MTHULISI SIBANDA
JOHANNESBURG, (CAJ News) – AN industry executive has warned that anti-competitive consolidation in the local information and communications technology (ICT) sector is a major threat to business and consumers.
They risk being stripped of the freedom to choose their telecoms provider.
This is reminiscent of the days of the Telkom monopoly. However, legislative and regulatory victories saw South Africa emerge in the 2000s as a bastion of free ICT competition.
Rad Jankovic, co-Chief Executive Officer of ICTGlobe, sounded a warning that South Africa’s smaller voice and data operators are being devoured by large players at an alarming rate.
“Lacklustre economic growth, telecoms market maturity and pressure on margins has seen dozens of ICT SMEs folding or being rolled into bigger operators,” he stated.
“That’s tremendously bad for both business and end consumers who remain under pressure and need greater, not less, competition to deliver affordable voice and data services,” Jankovic said.
With growth in the South African ICT industry recently measured at just 0,3 percent, according to the latest State of the ICT Sector Report, ICTGlobe launched its virtual service provider model as a way for smaller ICT firms to expand their product portfolio and stay in business, independently.
The model provides a combination of Platform, Software and Infrastructure-as-a-Service all provided in modular form and based on client needs.
“No jobs-generating, GDP-boosting SME should be forced to sell their soul to survive,” Jankovic said.
“Not every small business owner wants to sell up and join the competition as a small cog in an enormous wheel,” he added.
Jankovic believes with virtual service provider, his company has developed a way for smaller ICT firms to offer revenue-boosting internet service provider services without the need for expensive new investments.
ICTGlobe has a distribution channel of over 900 business partners in the Southern African Development Community (SADC) countries as well as a presence in Cyprus and the United Kingdom.
– CAJ News