Cell C is taking MTN to the Competition Commission for denying it access to an essential facility, for engaging in exclusionary acts and for charging it different rates to other competitors for interconnection of community telephone lines. 

According to Business Times, Cell C says the dispute has led to MTN owing it R1-billion and Cell C, in turn, owing MTN R800-million.
The report quotes commisioner Shan Rambaruth confirming that a complaint by Cell C had been filed. “We are looking at it," Rambaruth says. "I think our deadline is the end of March, when we will decide whether to refer it [to the Competition Tribunal] or not.”
The dispute centres on Cell C's rapid deployment of community service telephony lines (CSTs). When it was granted the third mobile operator's licence, Cell C was obliged to provide 52 000 CSTs, a figure it reached in August last year, mainly through the deployment of community telephony containers with up to five lines.
Cell C says MTN is upset because the interconnection fee on community phones is only 6c, whereas the fee on normal phones is R1.23. MTN was losing revenue because Cell C had rolled out phones so quickly.
The rollout of the CSTs was the subject of an earlier court case between MTN and Icasa and, while the judge ruled Icasa had not applied its mind to this matter, there was no ruling on whether there was anything wrong with the rollout. At the same time, MTN stopped paying Cell C interconnection fees, not only for the CSTs but for all interconnections.
This is where Cell C's R1-billion figure comes from. It also has accounts payable of R800-million because Cell C then withheld interconnection fees due to MTN. Meanwhile, Vodacom has also been rolling out its CSTs, but MTN has taken no exception to the way these have been rolled out and is not withholding interconnection fees.
Graham de Vries, GM, regulatory affairs at MTN South Africa, is quoted as being “surprised” that Cell C held the views it did.
“The very argument that Cell C had relied upon and which they are seemingly still relying on has been the subject matter of a High Court judgment on 15 December 2006," De Vries says. "The judgment vindicates MTN’s position on this matter in that the High Court has found that the decisions to approve the roll-out plans of the Cell C community service phones are so vitiated with irregularities that those approvals have been set aside. In fact Cell C conceded the illegality of those approvals.”