Technology, Media and Telecommunications updates around Africa

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This summary highlights key legislative and regulatory developments in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors in sub-Saharan Africa.  It covers the period 16 January 2018 to 15 April 2018 and includes developments from Angola, Botswana, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Seychelles, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

Angola

Competition Bill

In February 2018, Cabinet approved the Competition Bill, which was subsequently introduced in the National Assembly. It was debated on 20 March 2018, and on 4 April 2018 the Parliamentary Committees unanimously approved the Competition Law with 40 votes, which will be presented to the Plenum of the National Assembly for Global Final Vote on 19 April 2018.

Public Private Investment Law

On 4 April 2018, the MPs approved, by unanimous vote, the Public Private Investment Law.  The Presidents of the Parliamentary Groups scheduled a discussion of the proposed Public Private Investment Law for 19 April 2018.

Botswana

Broadcasters Code of Practice

On 1 February 2018 the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) adopted a Broadcasters Code of Practice, which sets out ethical and community standards for broadcast material that licensed broadcasters must adhere to.

Draft Communications Regulatory Authority Regulations

On 29 January 2018 BOCRA issued an invitation to stakeholders to make written submissions on the Draft Communications Authority Regulations.  Comments were due by 19 February 2018.

Ghana

Right to Information Bill, 2018

The Right to Information Bill, 2018 was laid in Parliament and referred to the Constitutional, Legal and parliamentary Affairs Committee, and the Communications Committee of Parliament.  Cabinet approved the Bill on 21 March 2018.

Kenya

Draft Rules under the Competition Act, No. 12 of 2010 and draft Guidelines informing its operations under the Act

On 12 March 2018, the Competition Authority of Kenya invited stakeholders to comment on the following draft Rules under the Competition Act, No. 12 of 2010 (Act) and draft Guidelines informing its operations under the Act:

  • The Competition (General) Rules, 2018
  • The Buyer Power Rules, 2017
  • The Merger Threshold Rules
  • The Consolidated Merger Guidelines
  • Block Exemption Guidelines
  • Search and Seizure Guidelines
  • Consumer Protection Guidelines

The deadline for comments was 26 March 2018.

Proposed Additional Requirements to be implemented by TV Broadcasting Licensees to Enhance Accessibility of Broadcasting Services by Persons with Disabilities

On 25 January 2018, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) issued a notice for a public consultation on proposed additional requirements for television broadcasting licensees to enhance accessibility of broadcasting services to persons with disabilities, especially sight and hearing disabilities. The extended deadline for submissions was 23 March 2018.

Public Consultation on Proposed Regulatory Interventions on the Use of Devices in the Internet of Things (IoT) Environment

The CA has opened a public consultation to adopt the GSMA RSP Architecture Version 2.014 of October 2016 international standard, and its successors for use in the Type Approval of devices with eSIM; as well as a 15-digit numbering range for assignment to Internet of Things (IoT) devices.  The ultimate aim is to ensure smooth roll out of IoT devices in Kenya.  Comments were due by 6 March 2018.

Dissemination Workshop on Competition Market Study on the Competitive Landscape of the telecommunications sub-sector in Kenya

In February 2018, the CA released an abridged version of the Competition Market Study on the Competitive Landscape of the telecommunications sub-sector in Kenya, which was commissioned to Analysis Mason some years ago. The findings of the study were discussed in an interactive workshop held on 20 February 2018 in Nairobi.

Lesotho

Lesotho Communications Authority (Licensing Classification and Fees) Rules, 2018

On 23 March 2018 the Lesotho Communications Authority published the Lesotho Communications Authority (Licensing Classification and Fees) Rules, 2018, which came into operation on 1 April 2018.

Malawi

MACRA Dates for Submission of Applications for Licences

On 23 January 2018, MACRA announced that it will accept applications for licences to provide communication services in Malawi only on the first day of the months of February, May, August and November in each calendar year.

The four categories under which applications may be submitted have been listed by MACRA as: Network Facilities Licence, Network Services Licence, Application Services Licence and Content Service Licence.

Mauritius

Judicial and Legal Provisions Bill

On 23 March 2018, the Judicial and Legal Provisions Bill was published.  The object of this Bill is to amend a number of enactments with a view to, inter alia, improving the administration of justice in Mauritius.  Under the amendment of the Criminal Code it deals with stirring up racial hatred.

Mozambique

Telecommunications Interconnection Tariffs

On 4 January 2018, the Instituto Nacional das Comunicações de Moçambique (INCM) gazetted Resolution No. 19 / CA / INCM / 2017, instituting new telecommunications interconnection tariffs.

Namibia

Withdrawal of Regulations Prescribing Limits of Tariffs for Telecommunications Services (Price Cap Regulations)

On 22 January 2018, CRAN gazetted a notice withdrawing Notice of intention to make Regulations Prescribing Limits of Tariffs for Telecommunications Services (“Price Cap Regulations”) as published in the Government Gazette No. 6322 General Notice No.156 dated 1 June 2017.  CRAN is currently reviewing and updating the current cost study on these Regulations.

Nigeria

National Broadcasting Commission Act (Amendment) Bill

On 28 February 2018, the National Broadcasting Commission Act (Amendment) Bill was passed.

Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, 2018

On 28 March 2018, the House of Representatives at its plenary session moved a motion to rescind eleven bills passed by the National Assembly and sent to the president for assent, including the Federal Competition and Consumer Protection Bill, 2018.

Draft Consumer Code of Practice Regulations 2018 and Draft Commercial Satellite Communications Guidelines 2017

The Nigerian Communications Commission, in exercise of its functions under the Nigerian Communications Act 2003, published a draft Consumer Code of Practice Regulations 2018 and draft Commercial Satellite Communications Guidelines 2017 for public comment.  The draft Consumer Code of Practice Regulations further define the procedures and substantive requirements for developing consumer codes to govern the provision of services by licensed telecommunications operators in Nigeria and related consumer practices. The draft Guidelines seek to regulate the provision and use of satellite communications services and networks, in whole or in part within Nigeria or on a ship or aircraft registered in Nigeria.

Rwanda

Draft Law on Cyber Crimes

On 16 March 2018, Cabinet approved the Draft Law on Cyber Crimes.

Seychelles

Communications Bill

On 11 April 2018, Cabinet approved amendments to the Communications Bill to provide for an independent body to regulate broadcasting and electronic communications.

South Africa

ICASA’s 3rd Report on the State of the ICT sector in South Africa

In March 2018, ICASA published its 3rd Report on the State of the ICT Sector in South Africa, which covers the 12-month period ending 30 September 2017.

ITU Questionnaire

On 4 April 2018, ICASA released the International Telecommunications Union’s Short Questionnaire on telecommunications statistics for 2017. The Short Questionnaire consists of 14 indicators and covers the period from January to December 2017. Licensees were required to submit their responses by 10 April 2018.

Analysis of tariff notifications submitted to ICASA by network operators

On 23 March 2018, ICASA published its analysis of tariff notifications submitted to it by network operators for the period 1 July 2017 to 31 December 2017. This tariff analysis report aims to ensure that customers are aware of the various retail tariffs that are available or have been in existence in the telecommunications sector and provide an update on initiatives which are currently underway to reduce the cost to communicate.

Inquiry into competition in subscription television broadcasting services

On 4 April 2018, ICASA announced that it will conduct public hearings in respect of the Discussion Document on the Inquiry into Subscription Television Broadcasting Services from 7 to 11 May 2018 at ICASA’s offices in Sandton.

Discussion Document on Digital Sound Broadcasting

On 29 March 2018, ICASA published its Discussion Document on Digital Sound Broadcasting.  The purpose of the Inquiry is to examine the prospects of implementation of Digital Sound Broadcasting services in South Africa; and to examine the manner in which the implementation of Digital Sound Broadcasting services can improve spectrum efficiency and management.  Interested parties can make written representations by no later than 6 June 2018.

Films and Publications Board Discussion Document on the review of its Classification Guidelines

In February 2018, the Films and Publications Board (FPB) published a Discussion Document on the review of its Classification Guidelines. Stakeholders were invited to provide input by way of written submissions by 30 March 2018.

Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes & Hate Speech Bill, 2018

The Prevention and Combatting of Hate Crimes and Hate Speech Bill, 2018 was tabled in Parliament in April 2018.

Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, 2017

On 17 November 2017, the Department of Telecommunications and Postal Services gazetted the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, 2017 for public comment.   The due date for submissions was 31 January 2018. On 6 and 7 March 2018, the Department held a Stakeholder Consultative Workshop, and stakeholders who submitted written submissions were afforded an opportunity to make oral representations.

Notice regarding the Increase of Administrative Fees in relation to Type Approval

ICASA published a notice on 3 April 2018 regarding the increase of administrative fees associated with type approval in line with regulation 10(3) of the Type Approval Regulations, effective from 1 April 2018.  All administrative fees associated with type approval will be increased by 5.3% based on the average Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Notice Regarding the Increase of Administrative Fees in Relation to Service Licences

On 20 March 2018, ICASA published a notice regarding an increase in the administrative fees in relation to service licences.  Effective from 1 April 2018, all administrative fees associated with applications and registrations relating to service licences will be increased by 5.3% based on the average CPI.

Call Termination Regulations

On 13 February 2018, ICASA issued two further documents with a view to finalising the latest review of the regulatory framework for call termination. These documents were:

  • A briefing note on the asymmetry in mobile and fixed wholesale voice call termination. The purpose of this briefing note is to provide clarity in respect of the principles in relation to asymmetry following the review process of the 2014 call termination pro-competitive conditions imposed on licensees.
  • A briefing note and response to issues raised by operators in their submissions of 30 November 2017.
  • Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Fee Amendment Regulations

On 22 March 2018, ICASA published a notice for the increase of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Fees in line with the regulation 9A of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Licence Fee Amendment Regulations, 2015.  Effective from 1 April 2018, all annual radio frequency spectrum licence fees will be increased by 5.3% based on the average CPI.

Regulations on the Use of Television White Spaces

On 23 March 2018, ICASA published its Regulations on the Use of Television White Spaces.

Regulations on Number Portability

On 28 March 2018, ICASA published Regulations on Number Portability to ensure, amongst other things, protection of subscribers in relation to number porting.

Invitation for written representations on priority markets in the electronic communications sector

The second phase of ICASA’s process to identify priority markets for pro-competitive intervention has commenced with the publication of a Discussion Document on 16 February 2018 for public comment.  Submissions were due by 2 April 2018.

Draft Regulations for Community Broadcasting Services: Radio and Television

On 6 April 2018, ICASA published Draft Regulations for Community Broadcasting Services: Radio and Television for comment.  Comments are due by 18 May 2018.  The Draft Regulations are accompanied by ICASA’s Findings Document on the Regulatory Framework for Community Broadcasting, which was published on the same date.

Swaziland

Spectrum Fee Schedule 2018

In April 2018, the Swaziland Communications Commission published a revised Spectrum Fee Schedule in terms of section 17 of the Electronic Communications Regulations 2016 (Radio Communications and Frequency Spectrum).

Tanzania

Public Consultation on the Draft Information Memorandum for the Award of 700MHz Spectrum

On 6 March 2018, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) announced the commencement of a public consultation on the draft Information Memorandum for the award of 700MHz spectrum. The deadline for written comments was 19 March 2018.

On 11 April 2018, the TCRA published the Final Draft Information Memorandum on the award of 700MHz spectrum and commenced the application process. The deadline for questions is 18 April 2018, and applications are due by 23 May 2018.  The TCRA expects the entire process to be completed by 18 July 2018.

Online Broadcasting and Online Content Regulations

On 16 March 2018, the Information Ministry published the final Online Broadcasting and Online Content Regulations, 2018.

Uganda

Data Protection and Privacy Bill

A Bill to protect the privacy of individuals and personal data of Ugandans, has been presented before the Parliamentary Committee on Information Communication Committee.

Zambia

Draft Information and Communications Technology Association of Zambia Bill, 2018

On 4 April 2018, the Draft Information and Communications Technology Association of Zambia Bill, 2018, was presented to Parliament for its first reading.   It proposes establishing the Information and Communications Technology Association of Zambia, providing for the registration of ICT professionals and regulating their professional conduct in the interest of the ICT sector.

Independent Broadcasting Authority (Television Levy) Regulations

On 2 February 2018, the Minister of Information and Broadcasting Services gazetted the Independent Broadcasting Authority (Television Levy) Regulations, 2018 which set out the amount, manner of collection and other issues related to the collection of TV levy in Zambia.

Zimbabwe

ICT Policy

On 14 March 2018, President Mnangagwa launched the country’s National ICT Policy and the Zimbabwe ICT Innovation Drive.  The stated aim of the policy is to enhance the use of ICT’s by all sectors and Government while transforming the economy in the new dispensation.

POTRAZ Annual Postal and Telecommunications Sector Performance Report 2017

On 6 April 2018, the Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) published this Report on the performance of the various markets within the postal and telecommunications sector during the 2017 calendar year. The report covers data on subscriptions, usage traffic, infrastructure deployment, revenues, investment and employment in the postal and telecommunication sector.

Licence Applications Invited for Video on Demand Services

On 19 January 2018 the Broadcasting Authority of Zimbabwe published a notice inviting applications for licences in classes that do not require allocation or use of frequencies, such as Video on Demand Service, Webcasting Service and Content Distribution Service.  Applications are accepted at any time.

National Frequency Allocation Plan

On 30 January 2018 ICT Minister Supa Mandiwanzira launched the first edition of the Zimbabwe National Frequency Allocation Plan.

Draft Amendment Bill to the Postal and Telecommunications Act

The Postal and Telecommunications Regulatory Authority of Zimbabwe (POTRAZ) published a Bill to amend the Post and Telecommunications Act of 2000. The proposed amendments include: new classes of licences; changes in the number of POTRAZ board members; a reduction in the number of board meetings held annually; and confirmation of the role of POTRAZ in dispute settlement within the sector. In addition, the proposals will seek to: streamline regulatory processes to enable a rapid response to any technological changes and consumer needs; strengthen regulatory oversight on competition issues; include comprehensive provisions on addressing consumer complaints; facilitate the effective planning, management, and allocation of scarce resources; and repeal obsolete provisions and upgrade organisational references where necessary. Comments were due by 10 April 2018.

This e-bulletin provides only general information on legislative and regulatory developments, which we consider key. It is not our intention to list all developments in the sector across Sub-Saharan Africa.

For further information, please contact Wendy Rosenberg or Tebogo Sibidla at LEX Africa member firm Werksmans Attorneys