GIS – August 22, 2013: A half-day workshop on Competition in the Telecommunications Sector opened this morning at La Petite Cannelle, in Domaine Les Pailles.
The aim was to provide an open and neutral platform for discussion on the ongoing progress and challenges of the telecommunications environment both as an industry as well as a key enabler to support other sectors of the Mauritian economy. Participants were operators and regulators from the telecommunications sector, consumer groups, civil societies, NGOs.
The workshop also discussed strategic areas of relevance for the telecom sector that will assist government in the formulation of future policy. Questions addressed comprised:
- Does everyone in the telecommunications ecosystem benefitting fairly from liberalisation and competition?
- Is Competition prevalent in all services?
- What has been the evolution of prices with competition?
- What can be done to improve/ increase competition?
- What is the impact of the open access policy on prices?
In his address, the Minister of Information and Communication Technology, Mr Tassarajen Pillay Chedumbrum, observed that at today’s workshop there would be legitimate pleas from the ICT/BPO operators for further price reduction and improvement for the telecoms competitive environment. However, said the Minister, it is good to highlight that Mauritius continues to offer ICT services at the cheapest price on the African continent.
In fact, he pointed out, the country ranks 44 worldwide while Seychelles is ranked 72, Egypt 73, India and South Africa 84 and 98 respectively on the International Telecommunication Union’s price basket which is a comprehensive basket based on price for fixed telephony, mobiles, cellular, and fixed broadband internet services, amongst others.
Minister Pillay Chedumbrum also said that although it is the aspiration and the wish of government for telecoms companies to be profitable, these should not seek to make super normal profits at all costs at the expense of customers. ‘The authorities shall always stand by the people who are the very customers that deserve quality services at affordable prices. It is hence important for operators to adopt a citizen-centric approach’, he stressed.
The Telecoms Sector
The Telecommunications environment has been liberalised since 2003. Prior to that, the ICT Act of 2001 had set the base for a fair competitive environment with multiple telecom service providers offering innovative and reliable telecom services to the Mauritian population.
The sector has experienced significant changes with the coming into operation of new players and the emergence of new technologies. Telecommunications is pervasive to all sectors of the economy and is a powerful tool for Mauritius to be the leader in the African Region in the ICT sector.
According to latest statistics, in 2012 around 44% of value added of the ICT sector was generated by activities of Telecommunications. The value added of the ICT sector rose by 6.1% from Rs 18,272 million in 2011 to Rs 19,388 million in 2012. The share of ICT sector in GDP in 2012 was 6.4%.
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