MTN spends millions on Rica campaign
Cape Town - Cellular network operator MTN Group [JSE:MTN] said on Wednesday it had invested R140m in its campaign to get subscribers registered in terms of the Regulations for the Interception of Communications Act (Rica).
MTN officials told the National Council of Provinces Committee on Security and Constitutional Affairs that it was planning to spend a further R40m to R50m on Rica campaigns until the June 30 deadline.
In terms of the Rica law, all the network operators have to register their prepaid and contract subscribers with confirmed identification and addresses.
The original deadline was December 31, but this has been extended at the request of network operators to enable registration of customers in rural areas, where literacy and confirmation of addresses is a problem.
The government's legal representative at Wednesday's meeting stressed that the deadline would not be extended.
Cell C also made a presentation, saying that 81% of its total subscribers had been registered, including 78% of its contract customers and 91% of its prepaid customers.
The committee refused requests by both Cell C and MTN to have the meeting conducted in camera as confidential and competitive information would be released.
MTN representatives read a letter from the company's general manager of legal affairs, Graham de Vries, asking for the meeting to be closed as the JSE-listed group was currently in a closed period stretching from January 1 to March 9, when its results were due to be released.
However, written advice from the parliamentary legal adviser read out at the meeting said there were no reasons for it to be closed.
MPs agreed that sensitive information could be handed in separately.
Vodacom Group [JSE:VOD] is still to present and the meeting continues.
Vodacom said it had managed to get 18 million, or 83%, of its subscriber base Rica-compliant. Vodacom head of regulatory affairs Snakes Nyoka said that about 17%, or 3.7 million subscribers still had to be registered. They were split into about 650 000 contract subscribers and the rest prepaid.