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Natcom has not exactly showered itself in glory and it would seem from recent happenings that they have called in some helpers to help regulate the sector-rival operators in the sector!

Qcell complained that Africell and Orange, at the behest of Natcom had stopped all calls emanating from Qcell. According to Qcell, they had been compliant with Natcom regulations and had not broken any laws. They said further they were surprised this was done on a Friday just before the weekend. Seems like many people are now learning from the CID on Friday lockups- get my drift!

Well Natcom replied in another Press release but did not address the issue. The Natcom release merely said Qcell had not been compliant on the floor price issue even after repeated warnings and promised to “bring the parties together”. But the question many are asking is-why leave the matter of regulating a company to its rivals? That is what my friend Alpha Khan would term “you mama in mate day mark u exam paper.”

Anyway Natcom and NRA really need to look into this whole issue some more.

Natcom needs to make its case in a more forthright fashion and with greater clarity if it is to avoid the accusation of being in the pocket of the big boys.

The reason stated by Natcom and NRA that free promotions were losing the government revenue could be countered by the argument that this revenue will ultimately be recouped by having a much higher user base with higher taxes paid government in the long run. One could however envisage a case in which Natcom may not want a new company to “cream off the top” by having clients mostly in the Western area and major cities who are much more affluent and not extending its coverage to poverty stricken rural areas. In that case Natcom could set a progressive coverage target as it probably did for the older companies who spent a lot on infrastructure. Natcom is however basing its argument purely on taxation and having a floor price as a solution.

To compound the problem, it would appear that it is Qcell’s competitors that are regulating them-a very confusing situation.

They really need to allay the fears of many who were paying much less for telephone and internet facilities from Qcell, including  one of my friends who has referred to them as “dunderheads”.

I will paraphrase her statement-with her permission.

“What the dunderheads should figure out is that tax revenue as a percentage of company revenue could actually increase, if those promotions increased the consumption of cellphone services and brought in new consumers! The only people who are losing out on this are us hapless consumers, whose interests justifies the very existence of NATCOM.” Strong stuff!

Ponder my thoughts.

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