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SWAZILAND

  • Swaziland's answers to the ITU's 2002 questionaire on frequency management indicates that the Swaziland Posts and Telecomms Corporation (SPTC) shares responsibility for national frequency management with the Ministry of Tourism, Environment and Communication. There wasn't yet a separate regulatory agency, although there were said to be plans to create a one. A preparatory step in that direction is the formation of an Office of Regulatory, Policy and International Affairs. After a separate regulator is created, the National Radio Regulations will be updated and made public. There was also said to be no national frequency allocations table - instead they follow the SADC channel plan.
  • All these details are confirmed by ACREG's (newer) regulatory database for Swaziland. That says a regulatory agency has still not been created; a draft telecommunications law is "awaiting adoption." Meanwhile the sector is governed by the SPTC Act of 1983. And there are no WiFi regulations.
  • "MTN calls for independent regulator," by Bongile Mavuso, Swazi Observer, 26 July 2007: "...Chief Executive Officer, Tebogo Mogapi said this during a Y'ello Editors' Briefing at the Ezulwini Sun Hotel yesterday morning... He stated that the company feels that it does not create a healthy environment for the industry to operate without a regulator... Mogapi stated that it would be difficult to deregulate the industry in the absence of an independent regulator... He further stated that they understand the terms of the current license post, which grants the company exclusivity in operations of the mobile communications industry. 'We understand the terms offered by the current license post and are not seeking for such in the renewal of the license contract. We fully support deregulation of the industry as it is good for the economy... It is really not for us to say if the country needs another operator but for government and interested parties in the industry. Actually it is the size of the market that determines if more operators are welcome or not but we really do not support exclusivity,' the CEO said..."
  • "ICT Ministry now drafting Bill for independent communications regulator," by Nomile Hlatshwayo, Swazi Times, 31 July 2009: "Just over a month ago, ICT Minister Nelisiwe Shongwe revealed that they were working on a piece of legislation that would usher into being the existence of a communications regulatory commission that would be independent. She expressed hope that an independent regulator would be appointed by the end of the year. 'Currently, there is no independent regulator in Swaziland and communication regulation is performed by the Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC). This means that current regulation in Swaziland is performed by an operator that is both a player and a referee,' she said... [The ICT Ministry's Director of Communications Stan Motsa] disclosed that once they finish the draft Bill, it would be taken to stakeholders. 'The process is such that once we finish the draft, we will then have to take it to stakeholders in the industry because we want their inputs. These inputs will then be incorporated into the Bill, which will then be taken to the Attorney General's (AG) office to fine tune it into a proper draft Bill,' he explained. From the AG's office, Motsa said the draft Bill would be taken to Cabinet. 'When Cabinet has approved the draft, it will then be advertised and gazetted before being tabled in Parliament. We have to follow all these processes and they take time. However, we are expecting that, just like the minister said, the legislation will be ready by the end of the year,' he said..."
  • "MTN doesn’t want fixed wireless," by Mduduzi Magagula, Swazi Times, 9 May 2010: "The launch of the fixed wireless project by Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) on Friday worries MTN Swaziland... MTN feels that SPTC is violating the JVA [Joint Venture Agreement] in that it has established a mobile unit in the company, which will directly compete with MTN... MTN further urged the minister to stall the project until an independent regulator was established to look at the healthiness of competition between the two... 'MTN's concern is that SPTC is seen to be engaging in mobile telephony against the spirit of the agreement which precludes SPTC from doing so whilst it still had a majority shareholding (42 per cent) in MTN Swaziland,' said the source... The source however, noted that the Communications Bill was passed by Cabinet last week... The SPTC Board maintains the view that the company is not in breach of JVA... [Phanuel Vilakati, Acting Chairman of the SPTC board] also said MTN no longer had a licence that guaranteed exclusivity. He said such a licence died with the company's ten years of monopoly in 2008..."
  • "SPTC wins battle against MTN," by Mduduzi Magagula, Swazi Times, 04 July 2010: "The business 'war' between the country's two communication giants Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation (SPTC) and Swazi MTN is over. The wrangle ends with SPTC winning in its quest to have a fixed wireless network project... Nelsiwe Shongwe, Minister of Information, Communications and Technology confirmed that SPTC was going ahead with its controversial project. She said the company had since agreed to relinquish the regulatory authority which was cited as an issue when Swazi MTN launched a move to stall the 'ONE' project... [Phanuel Vilakati, Acting Chairman of the SPTC board] said the issue has since been resolved with SPTC relinquishing the 51 per cent shares [in MTN] that were held by [SPTC] on behalf of government and these shares amount to a majority shareholding at [MTN]. He said the shares were taken back to their owners, in this case being government. The second area of contention between the two parties was that of industry regulation. Vilakati said the parastatal had moved the regulatory authority from its offices and such powers were also reverted to government. ICT Minister Shongwe said government was in the process of forming an independent authority that would regulate the industry. She has since tabled a Bill in Parliament which would facilitate the formation of this authority...
  • "SPTC, STVA to lose regulatory authority," by Mduduzi Magagula, Swazi Times, 4 July 2010: "Government is establishing an independent regulator for the country's communications industry. Nelsiwe Shongwe, Minister of Information, Communication and Technology has tabled a Bill in Parliament which seeks to establish a commission to regulate the industry. The new law will be known as the Swaziland Communications Commission Act of 2010. The commission shall be a body corporate with perpetual succession and a common seal, capable of suing and being sued in its corporate name... Some of the duties of the commission include regulating interconnection and access between licences and users of electronic communications services. The commission will also ensure fair competition in all communication services, products and operations. It will also allocate and authorise the use of radio frequency spectrum..."

Africa - Regional Overview