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SPTC shares back to where they belong

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MBABANE – There has been another twist to the SPTC/MTN dispute as Minister of Information, Technology and Communication Nelisiwe Shongwe has eventually returned the industry’s regulatory powers and shares to SPTC.

SPTC is an acronym for Swaziland Posts and Telecommunications Corporation with MTN being Mobile Telephone Network.

The return of the shares and regulatory powers to SPTC comes after Parliament instructed Minister Shongwe to reverse the decision that saw SPTC relinquish its regulatory power and MTN shares control to government.

Lobamba Lomdzala Member of Parliament Marwick Khumalo had revealed that SPTC’s then acting Managing Director Amon Dlamini was forced to write a letter that compelled him to delegate all regulatory functions to the Director of Communications in the Ministry of Information Communication and Technology.

Members of Parliament even resolved to pass a vote of no confidence should Minister Shongwe fail to reverse the decisions. A select committee comprising five MPs was elected to look into the matter and deliver a report.

Speaking to Swazi News earlier in the week, Minister Shongwe confirmed that government had adhered to parliament’s stand to revert the shares and regulatory powers.

"Government has complied with parliament’s resolutions after it resolved that the regulatory and shares issues be reversed", said the minister.

The MTN/SPTC saga now seems far from over despite the fact that the mobile company had already withdrawn its court proceedings against SPTC.

When MTN learnt of SPTC’s proposed launch of a fixed mobile service last year, it stated that SPTC should first dispose of its shareholding with MTN. It further requested that Minister Shongwe set up an independent regulatory authority to issue a licence to SPTC as opposed to SPTC licensing itself and to ensure that SPTC adheres to similar terms and conditions imposed on MTN to avoid unfair competition.

Following the latest development, this means MTN’s concern on SPTC’s fixed mobile remains unchanged. MTN has so far remained mum on the issue while talks between the two communications giants continue.

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