Rica cost cellphone firms millions

2011-07-06 16:36

Pretoria - South African wireless phone operators forked out more than R800m on marketing and new staff as they rushed to register customer simcards under a new law in the country, they said on Wednesday.

Under the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (Rica), cellphone simcards had to be registered by June 30, or risk being cut off from the network.

MTN Group [JSE:MTN] and larger rival Vodacom Group [JSE:VOD] spent about R250m each on the exercise, while unlisted Cell C said it invested between R300m and R400m.

Under the new law, the government requires cellphone cards to be registered to a name and an address to make it easier to trace users in the fight against crime.


  • Mike - 2011-07-06 17:01

    And for 20 Bucks you can pick up a pre-RICAed simcard. What a joke!

  • braams - 2011-07-06 17:08

    It should actually read: "South African consumers forked out more than R800m..." At the end of the day, the consumer pays for it. How the networks recover the R800m is up to them, but I am willing to bet the farm that they won't just take it off the bottom line. Just a slight increase in tariffs, maybe R5 more to activate a new line or R1 more to mail you your statement, somewhere they will recover the R800m. Just like when "Government" pays for something, it is not government, it is the taxpayer that pays for any government spend. At the end of the day, it is always the consumer and the taxpayer that pays for everything.

  • john - 2011-07-06 17:13

    And the net effect on cell phone theft will be... zero. Every South African is required to give their fingerprints when applying for ID book, driver's licence, etc. Have you ever heard of a crime being solved by fingerprints here? Nope, me neither.

  • Fry - 2011-07-06 17:18

    ah shame......

  • star3am - 2011-07-06 17:26

    lol really ... R250m wow - wonder how much they make in inter connecting fees, probably billions

  • african - 2011-07-06 17:31

    How much of the cost was covered by existing marketing budgets? I do hope the cell companies do not intend to use this as an excuse to increase tariffs......

  • halicon - 2011-07-06 17:36

    i think this is just going to make it easier to identify victims of crime... there is absolutely nothing gained from this.

  • Nesomaniac - 2011-07-06 17:44

    So, R800M on an exercise that was a complete farce.

      Warren - 2011-07-06 19:49

      Can anyone think of a bigger "Epic Fail"? Oh wait... that pesky arms deal!

  • jevoixtout - 2011-07-06 17:45

    R800m to be paid by the public to fight crime. Just a drop in the ocean really.

      ilollipop - 2011-07-06 20:44

      ....except it's not to fight crime. There is no obligation to keep the database up to date when you move for instance.... in a few months time the RICA information is going to be pretty much worthless

  • Mike Hoxbig - 2011-07-06 18:00

    Hardly a dent when they're pocketing billions.

  • Zee - 2011-07-06 20:30

    so where did the 800million go to. Consumers still complain of pathetic service, users still cant pass those call-centre agents to speak to a supervisor or a person with more "know-how" and MTN still continues to debit my account first and then posting a statement. is there any accountability for this 800 million rands.

  • Realist - 2011-07-06 20:56

    What a waste of money. Surely the MTN, Vodacom & Cell C could have save millions by just sending out to each Client a simple SMS to his/her sim whether a modem sim ro a cell phone sim stating that he/she had not yet registered for RICA and will be cut off on the 30 June 2011. So simple and every user would know exactly where he stood. I had to RICA 3 times as the first two had not been done correcly and one never every walked out of a shop with PROOF of the RICA.

  • Sisie - 2011-07-07 07:32

    Feel nothing for them forking out so much for advertising, i bet they get a tax rebate for it anyway. They probably made more that way than they spent. They have been taking their customers for a ride for so long now, that they deserve to lose a little, but they won't somehow or other their customer will end up paying. So really my heart bleeds.

  • george - 2011-07-07 09:55

    I've noticed in the last few months expenses & costs have moved into the billions category from the millions. Everything is billions. So for RICA R0.8 billion was spent on advising clients and teaching staff? Hardly believable. Sounds to me like fooling SARS. On top of it, it seems that what RICA tried to achieve has already been compromised. What a waste! Like new drivers licences - promised to make counterfeiting impossible. Somebody is skimming!

  • pages:
  • 1