The Namibian Competition Commission has cautioned the City of Windhoek to offer access to essential infrastructure on equal terms and conditions, and in a non-biased manner, to all players in the Information, Communication Technology (ICT) industry. The warning comes as the NaCC yesterday issued a statement noting it has since 2017 been inundated with numerous complaints alleging possible anti-competitive practices in the ICT industry, specifically the development of fibre optic infrastructure around the district of Windhoek.
The NaCC assessed the complaints, some of which were lodged by major players in the ICT industry, to determine whether there have been possible infringements on the country’s Competition Act (2003).
According to the NaCC statement; “Any unwarranted delays, restrictions, constraints, reluctance in approving applications for the purposes of installing fibre cables in the district of Windhoek without reasonable justifications may be construed as a way of restricting competition in the relevant market.”
The commission added that it will be monitoring developments in the industry for possible anticompetitive practices, which may come under competition law scrutiny. In this regard, the commission, therefore, reserves its rights to initiate an investigation of any possible anti-competitive practices in future, should the need arise.
“Although the commission did not find evidence relating to practices that infringe the Act, it notes that the development of fibre optic infrastructure is highly contested by the relevant competitors in that market. The commission further notes that the Municipal Council of the City of Windhoek is also an aspiring competitor in the relevant market. Although the commission commends the entrance into the market by the Windhoek municipality, which has the potential to enhance consumer choice, the commission is nevertheless cognisant of the fact that the Windhoek municipality is the sole custodian of the upstream essential facility (the infrastructure upon which fibre cables are to be installed) and is aspirant to being vertically integrated into the downstream market (installation of fibre optic cables),” read the NaCC statement.