Telecommunications companies have continued their strong criticism of the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s proposed licence fee increase — 3 percent of gross annual turnover, writes Zweli Mokgata in The Times.

State-owned telecoms provider Telkom went as far as saying that the proposed fees were so high they would have a negative impact on South Africa’s economic growth.

Graham Keet, Telkom’s senior specialist for the regulatory environment, said: “[The] proposed licence fees are extremely high and largely unjustified. The licence fees will far exceed the cost for regulating the environment.

“We cannot afford to have regulations that discourage infrastructure development. Discouraging investment in infrastructure can cause lessening of growth in the country.”

Despite a successful bid by technology group Altech last year to allow more companies to receive licences that would allow them to self-provide infrastructure and services, Icasa’s proposed fees threaten to limit the entry of smaller players into the market and stifle the growth of established players.

Some companies are in line to receive two licences on Monday.

The new regulation could result in these companies having to pay as much as 6percent of pre-deduction revenue.

This is a significant jump, considering that companies have — up until now — been only paying 0.1percent of annual revenue to the regulator.

Click here to read the full report, posted on The Times website.