A Blog By Hooyberg Attorneys

Telkom - The Bully

In July this year, the Human Rights Commission of the United Nations passed a resolution proclaiming that internet access was a universal human right. The free flow of information is vital to our communication needs as human beings, as well as for our economic and personal development as a society.

It was fortuitous, therefore, that just under two month later, the Competition Tribunal slapped Telkom with a R449-million fine over its tactics employed against Value Added Network Service (VANS) providers over the last ten to fifteen years. The Competition Tribunal, in a classic tale of David versus Golliath, lambasted Telkom for bullying its downstream competitors into line, and effectively taking the law into their own hands by playing the role of a telecommunications regulator, and not a mere telecommunications provider.

The problem arose when in 1996, Telkom was granted a five-year exclusivity license to market and sell Public Switched Telecommunications…

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