The decision by the Competition Tribunal to scupper the proposed network sharing deal between MTN and Telkom has been described as “regrettable” by MTN.
The company has issued a statement, as follows: “MTN has noted the recommendation of the Competition Commission that the proposed MTN and Telkom transaction be prohibited. MTN is pursuing multiple network expansion and efficiency strategies and transactions.
“The transaction between MTN and Telkom would have constituted the first RAN infrastructure sharing arrangement in South Africa between two mobile network operators and was aimed at meeting the demand in the unprecedented global shift from traditional voice to data.
“MTN believes that the transaction would have encouraged competition in the market and between the parties, fostered an efficient utilisation of the networks of both parties and would have been to the benefit of the sector and the country by catering to the exponential data growth.
“It is regrettable that the matter is not moving forward to the Competition Tribunal as the final decision making authority, as MTN firmly believes, the transaction would have enabled competition in the market and between the parties and that MTN would have been able to clearly demonstrate this before the Competition Tribunal. The transaction would have resulted in an efficient utilisation of the networks of both parties and would have been to the benefit of the sector and the country as a whole in terms of the rapidly growing demand for data.
“MTN continues to explore other ways of efficient network consolidation and sharing as is happening in other parts of the world. MTN also has multiple firm network expansion, efficiency, wholesale and sharing strategies in place which are underpinned by an aggressive network rollout of all technology streams including fibre and LTE.
“The proposed Telkom deal was just one element of the larger MTN strategy, which entailed the radio access network and fibre strategies.
“We are pursuing other RAN efficiency gains and exploring other network sharing transactions.”