Competition Tribunal hears MTN , iTalk Cellular case today

ALL eyes are from today on the Competition Tribunal which begin hearings on the proposed takeover of iTalk Cellular by leading South African based mobile network services provider MTN.

MTN which already owns a 41 percent stake in iTalk, aims to purchase the remaining 59 percent in the company.

The Competition Commission gave the R500million-deal a nod in November.

The mobile phone networks industry is now keenly awaiting the outcome of the Competition Tribunal. The event points to what will be a year of aggressive growth for the continent’s main telecommunications operators,” said an analyst.

The proposed deal by MTN, which has a vast presence in Africa, is to strengthen its distribution network across South Africa, it said.

The deal has however met stiff resistance from Huge Group, which argues that the acquisition of iTalk by MTN would scuttle competition in the telecommunications market.

“Rival telecommunications companies oppose the deal. They fear that MTN would extend its strengths as a mobile operator,” the analyst added.