Telkom group CEO Sipho Maseko told the media at their 2013 annual general meeting that the telecommunications company shouldn’t foot the bill for other operators in regard to local-loop unbundling (LLU).
Maseko is of the opinion that other operators who don’t want to invest in their own infrastructure are looking to Telkom to make the first moves. “Philosophically, we encourage investment. It’s not right that once again Telkom is being seen as the firm to lean on to get an easy ride into the market. People need to invest,” he said according to TechCentral.
Local-loop unbundling is the regulatory process of allowing multiple telecommunications operators to use connections from the telephone exchange to the customer’s premises.
He added that Telkom has had to bear the brunt of the investment. “Telkom has been trampled on for quite a while. LLU, I think, is a half-told story. My view is that as a principle we should encourage investment, especially in the local loop. It a bit disingenuous [for other companies] to agitate to say, ‘I don’t want to put in my money and invest, but I want to ride on Telkom’s network’.”
Ultimately Maseko would like to see a return on investment for Telkom when it comes to LLU. “We have shareholders and we don’t believe our shareholders should be prejudiced unfairly. Our shareholders expect us to represent the company as best we can … and give them a return from their investment.”
The CEO also voiced his displeasure on the favourable termination rates for mobile operators, which he says should have ended in 2000. “The subsidy has continued, which is very unjust. There is an accumulated value of a 10-year subsidy that Telkom has paid, which needs to be sorted out,” he concluded.
Charlie Fripp – Consumer Tech editor