MTN spends millions on Rica campaign

2011-02-09 12:48

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.

  • Sandra King - 2011-02-09 13:37

    Yes, they can spend so much money because they steel so much!!

  • dee - 2011-02-09 13:46

    I have been in four times to MTN to RICA my phone and I still get calls. There appears to be a glitch in tgheir systems. The store systems and the RICA central system says I am Rica'D but the MTN central system indicates I am not. They are wating money everytime they contact me - and how many others - for RICA purposes

  • Susannomore - 2011-02-09 13:59

    These companys make it sound like they are footing the bill. I seriously doubt that somewhere, this money for marketing will end up coming out of our pockets.

  • Paul - 2011-02-09 14:00

    Whats the point ? My wife's identity was used recently (along with a cell phone number) to get a Wesbank loan & Blackberry from (you guessed it) MTN !!!! So the crooks will always find a way to circumvent the system.

  • Realist - 2011-02-09 14:06

    They pass the costs onto the consumer, the headline should read "MTN customers pay millions on RICA campign"!!!

  • Ricardo Groom - 2011-02-09 14:36

    RICA is a useless exercise that is of no benefit to the legal cellphone user. For example, if your cell is stolen, the beneficiary of that stolen cell will incert a simcard and continue using that stolen cell without any fear of been apprehended as he knows that even if you open a criminal case he/she will not be persued neither by SAPS or any of the Service Providers. It is not in the interest of Big Business in this sector to eradicate the theft of cellphones by using the information available through the RICA process. Theft of cellphones will therefore continue as these companies are benefiting from this as they know very well that a person who loses a cellphone will eventually buy a new one and a person who previous did not own one and purchases a stolen one will insert a new sim card, thereby increasing customer base of the companies. So, a definite senseless exercise.

  • John - 2011-02-09 15:20

    Ayoba Dee - Registering for RICA (with MTN is free / mahaaalaaa). No one should've ever requested you to pay. There is a single centralised RICA database for all MTN (Yellow shop) subscribers HOWEVER this database is not the same as your Nashua's, etc. Hence, these private dealers might take a while to synchronise with the MTN database. RICA is SA Law not MTN, CellC nor VC's rule. Little assistence been afforded to to-date by government to get the general public to RICA their SIM cards.

  • Pieter du Toit - 2011-02-09 20:37

    Since I rica'd my cell card, I get calls from operators calling me by my name. As this is a pre-paid number, I just wonder. Remember that it was the minister of transport who initiated the new drivers licence system, and guess who's company is processing drivers licences. This has nothing to do with crime, this is a list of millions of users that can be sold to marketing companies. The ANC strikes again.

  • Anne1 - 2011-02-09 20:52

    Dee, I have also been to MTN, at Kenilworth Centre, long ago to Rica a contract & a prepaid phone, Tonight I found out that only the prepaid number is registered. What on earth did they do with the info they received? Apparently, I need to waste a whole lot of time to go through the whole process again. Time to change networks, I think!

  • devils_advo - 2011-02-10 07:24

    Ricardo, you dont register your phone. Its your sim card that is registered.

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