South African mobile operator Cell C yesterday lodged a formal complaint against the two major players in the mobile telecoms industry in this country, MTN and Vodacom. The complaint alleges that the two companies in question are engaged in “anti-competitive conduct” with regards to how they handle the pricing on their networks.
Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig said in a statement “The two dominant incumbents discount their effective on-net prices substantially while charging a premium for their customers to call off-net. This amounts to discriminatory pricing and is without doubt anti-competitive when adopted by dominant operators.”
Cell C’s complaint was lodged with the Competition Commission and the company has offered examples of similar behaviour to that which it claims MTN and Vodacom are engaged in where regulators in France, Papua New Guinea and Nigeria found that on- and off-net pricing differences were discriminatory.
Knott-Craig went on to say “Customers that call off-net are being penalised often without them realising it. With number portability, customers don’t always know if they are calling on- or off-net anymore, so they don’t actually know what rate they are paying.”