According to media reports, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has approved the transfer of Dark Fibre Africa’s network and service licences.
BMA understands that ownership of Dark Fibre Africa’s I-ECS and I-ECNS licences transfer to a company dubbed “NewCo” — a placeholder name for the recently launched Maziv.
Maziv is a Community Investment Ventures Holdings (CIVH) subsidiary and houses the fibre assets of Vumatel and Dark Fibre Africa (DFA).
Although Maziv owns the licences, control of DFA’s licences has been transferred to Vodacom. In a statement, the regulator said it approved a series of transfers on 21 October 2022, which will take effect on 1 December 2022.
“The approval is, however, subject to the imposition of special licence conditions relating to the provision of open-access network services, along with limitations on ownership and control,” Icasa explained.
The regulator said it only received written representations from the Internet Service Providers’ Association of South Africa.
“Following the receipt of these written representations and written responses on 9 June 2022 and 21 June 2022, respectively, a public hearing was held on 12 July 2022.
“In line with its legislative and regulatory processes, the Authority has considered and analysed the applications and the key considerations emanating from them,” it said.
Icasa said its analysis and evaluation took into account the following:
Equity ownership by historically-disadvantaged persons
competition in the ICT sector
the interests of consumers
Icasa councillor Luthando Mkumatela, who chaired the relevant committee, said, “The Authority has approved the proposed transaction after careful consideration.”
“We view the transaction as unlikely to negatively impact the market while making the Transferee an effective player. Additionally, the Authority views the proposed transaction as in the public’s best interest.”
Icasa said it would publish a Reasons for the Decision document, together with the specific conditions imposed on the Maziv, in due course.