Mobile operator Cell C has hit back at the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) over reports that it owes the regulator R107-million in outstanding licence fees, saying ICASA seems to be “unable to verify its own information”.

In a statement released yesterday, Cell C says that the reports have damaged its reputation and that it was looking to set the record straight.

“Cell C would like to set the record straight regarding comments made in Parliament on 30 April 2013 by the honourable MP, Marion Shinn regarding outstanding licence fees owed to ICASA,” the statement says. “The comments were made on the back of information provided to the minister by ICASA. Cell C has never been advised by ICASA that it owes R107,3-million or any other amount in outstanding licence fees and accordingly Cell C denies that it owes this amount.

“After the media reported on the statements made by the honourable MP, Cell C sent a letter to ICASA on 2 May 2013 demanding urgent written confirmation of ICASA’s position and that Cell C is not in default of any licence fee obligations,” it continues. “ICASA has failed to respond as it appears to be unable to verify its own information. ICASA’s failure to respond and set the record straight publicly is having a negative impact on Cell C’s reputation and leaves Cell C with no choice but to make its own public statement in this regard.”

And, in a final dig at the regulator, the statement concludes: “Cell C notes that in a similar vein, despite in February 2013 having announced that it would begin a market review related to the high cost to communicate, ICASA has failed to commence this review, and consumers and Cell C continue to be negatively impacted.”