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Technology Media & Telecommunications in Africa update

This e-bulletin highlights key legislative and regulatory developments in the technology, media and telecommunications sectors in sub-saharan Africa.  This issue covers the period 16 April 2023 to 15 July 2023 and includes developments from Eswatini, Ethiopia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Rwanda, South Africa, Seychelles, Tanzania, Uganda, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

eSwatini

Notice 03/2023 – Directive on the Review of Subscriber Registration (VELA) Requirements

On 21 April 2023, the Eswatini Communications Commission published its Directive on the Review of Subscriber Registration (VELA) Requirements, which sets out the revised requirements for registration of subscriber information.  The Directive requirements came into operation on 1 May 2023.

ethiopia

Stakeholder Consultation on Directive for Communications Service and License Fee

On 26 May 2023, the Ethiopian Communications Authority published its Draft Directive for Communications Service and License Fee, which sets out proposed communications service licence fees, type approval fees, telecommunications number assignment and usage fees, and radio frequency spectrum assignment and usage fees.  The deadline for comment was 15 June 2023.

Ghana

Invitation for Comments on Guidelines on Procedure for Granting Approval to Disconnect Telecommunications Service Operators

On 21 June 2023, the National Communications Authority published an Invitation for Comments on Guidelines on Procedure for Granting Approval to Disconnect Telecommunications Service Operators.  The deadline for comment is 3 August 2023.

Kenya

Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2023

On 18 April 2023, the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy published the draft Kenya Information and Communications (Amendment) Bill, 2023, which is aimed at ensuring that the Kenya Information and Communications Act, 1998 and the ICT sector are aligned with the industry developments and the ICT Policy Guidelines, 2020.  The deadline for comment was 8 May 2023.

Draft Kenya Information and Communications Act Regulations

On 19 May 2023, the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy published the following Draft Regulations:

  • Universal Access and Service) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Type Approval, Importation and Distribution Equipment) Regulation, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Tariff) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Radio Communications and Frequency Spectrum) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Postal and Courier Services) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Numbering) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (General Licensing) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Fair Competition) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Electronic Certification Administration) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Domain Name Administration) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Consumer Protection) Regulations, 2023
  • The Kenya Information and Communications (Compliance and Enforcement) Regulations, 2023

The deadline for comment was 13 June 2023.

Public Consultation: Minimum Technical Specifications for Digital Sound Broadcasting Receivers

On 13 June 2023, the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) published the Draft Minimum Technical Specifications for Digital Sound Broadcasting Receivers for public consultation.  The deadline for comment was 27 June 2023.

Public Consultation on Review of the Programming Code for Broadcasting Services in Kenya

On 28 June 2023, the CA published the Draft Programming Code for Broadcasting Services in Kenya.  The objective of this consultation process is to give stakeholders and the public an opportunity to comment on the proposed revisions to the Programme Code.  The deadline for comment is 31 July 2023.

Public Consultation for Removal of 30% Local Shareholding for Foreign ICT Based Companies

On 12 Jul 2023, the Ministry of Information, Communications and The Digital Economy published the invitation for comment for the removal of the 30% local shareholding for foreign ICT based companies. The deadline for comment is 31 July 2023.

Sector Reports

In April 2023, the CA published the following sector reports:

  • Broadcasting Services Report for Q2 of 2022-2023;
  • Consumer Complaints Report from 1 January to 31 March 2023;
  • Cybersecurity Sector Report for Q2 of 2022-2023; and
  • Sector Statistics Report for Q2 of 2022-2023.

Sector Reports

In June 2023, the CA published the following sector reports:

  • Broadcasting Services Report for Q3 of 2022-2023; and
  • Sector Statistics Report for Q3 of 2022-2023.

Lesotho

Lesotho Communications Authority (Licensing Classification and Fees) Rules, 2023

On 31 March 2023, the Lesotho Communications Authority (Licensing Classification and Fees) Rules, 2023 were gazetted. They came into operation on 1 April 2023.

Lesotho Communications Authority (Quality of Service) Rules, 2023

On 21 April 2021, the Lesotho Communications Authority (Quality of Service) Rules, 2023 was gazetted. They prescribe the minimum standards for quality of services which will be applicable to licensees providing voice, data, postal and courier services.

Strategic Plan 2023 to 2026

On 24 May 2023, the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) published its Strategic Plan for 2023 to 2026, which sets out the LCA’s long-term strategy and three year strategy.

Consumer Complaints Guidelines, 2022

On 13 June 2023, the LCA published the Consumer Complaints Guidelines, 2022, which are aimed at facilitating the achievement of adequate protection of consumers of communications services in Lesotho by outlining the rights and obligations of consumers and service providers, and prescribing complaints handling processes.

Malawi

Draft Communications (SIM Card Registration) Regulations, 2023

On 2 May 2023, the Malawi Communications Regulatory Authority (MACRA) published the Draft Communications (SIM Card Registration) Regulations 2023, which set out detailed procedures for registering mobile phone SIM cards. MACRA is in the process of consulting stakeholders.

ITA for Second Signal Distributor in Malawi

On 1 June 2023, MACRA published its ITA for a Second Signal Distributor in Malawi, which was issued on 10 May 2023. The deadline for applications was 20 June 2023.

Mauritius

Public Consultation on Implementation of Crowdsourcing-based Platform for Assessment of Quality of Service (QOS) of Broadband Internet Services

On 9 May 2023, the Information and Communication Technologies Authority published its Response to the Public Consultation on Implementation of Crowdsourcing-based Platform for Assessment of Quality of Service (QOS) of Broadband Internet Services. The Consultation Paper was published on 31 January 2023, and the deadline for comment was 28 February 2023.

Mozambique

Proposal for a Cyber Security Law

On 8 May 2023, the National Institute of Information and Communication Technologies (INTIC) published its Proposal for a Cyber Security Law and invited the public to make contributions thereon. INTIC has not published a deadline for comment.

Proposed Regulation for the Registration and Licensing of Intermediary Providers of Digital Services and Digital Platforms

On 15 May 2023, INTIC published the Proposed Regulation for the Registration and Licensing of Intermediary Providers of Digital Services and Digital Platforms for public comment. INTIC has not published a deadline for comment.

Namibia

Notice of Intention to Prescribe a Frequency Band Plan in respect of Analogue Frequency Modulation Radio Broadcasting

On 24 May 2023, the Communications Authority of Namibia (CRAN) gazetted a Notice of Intention to Prescribe a Frequency Band Plan in respect of Analogue Frequency Modulation Radio Broadcasting.  The deadline for comment was 23 June 2023.

Draft Market Saturation Report 

On 15 June 2023, CRAN published the Draft Market Saturation Report for public comment.  The deadline for comment is 24 July 2023. CRAN will host two public hearings for licenses. Details for the public hearings will be provided at a later stage.

Quarterly Statistics Newsletter Q4 of 2022

On 20 April and 21 June 2023, CRAN published their Quarterly Statistics Newsletter for Q4 of 2022 and Q1 of 2023 respectively.

Nigeria

Data Protection Bill, 2023

On 14 June 2023, the President of Nigeria signed the Data Protection Bill, 2023 into law. The Act provides a framework for protection of personal information and data protection in the country.

Call for comment and Public Inquiries on Draft Regulations

On 27 June 2023, the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) published the following draft Regulations for public comment.  The deadline for comment is 20 July 2023, and public inquiries will be held from 25 to 27 July 2023.

  • Quality of Service Regulations (as amended), 2023
  • Quality of Service Business Rules, 2023
  • Commercial Satellite Communications Regulations (as amended), 2023
  • Guidelines on Corporate Governance, 2023
  • Data Protection Regulations, 2023
  • Competition Practices Regulations (as amended), 2023
  • Numbering Regulations (as amended), 2023

Guidelines

On 12 July 2023, the NCC published the following Guidelines:

  • Guidelines on Promotional Advertisement, 2023, which set out the minimum standards and requirements on promotional advertisement products and services by licensees 
  • Guidelines on Short Code Operations in Nigeria,2023, which prescribes the standard practice for providers of short code services 
  • Guidelines on Technical Specifications for the Deployment of Infrastructure in the Communications Sector 2023, and Schedule 1 to these Guidelines, which set out the standards and technical specifications for infrastructure installation in the country

Online Licensing Application Process

On 19 April 2023, the NCC published a document setting out the Online Licensing Application Process.

Type Approval Requirements for ICT Devices

On 22 May 2023, the NCC published its Type Approval Requirements for ICT Devices, which sets out the requirements for obtaining communications equipment type approval certification.

Annual Report and Accounts for 2021

On 22 April 2022, the NCC published its Annual Report and Accounts for 2021.

Rwanda

Frequency Award in FM Band

On 3 May 2023, the Rwanda Utilities Regulatory Authority (RURA) published a Notice indicating that they are publishing 23 new frequencies for assignment, and encouraged eligible applicants to apply.  The deadline for applications was 6 June 2023.

Presidential Order Governing Universal Access Fund

On 15 May 2023, the Presidential Order Governing Universal Access Fund was gazetted, which sets out the responsibilities, organisation and functioning of the Universal Access Fund.

Statistics Report for Telecom, Media and Broadcasting Sector for the First Quarter of 2023

On 9 June 2023, RURA published its Statistics Report for Telecom, Media and Broadcasting Sector for the First Quarter of 2023.  The Report compiles the information from telecom operators, 4G wholesaler, Internet Service Providers, Media and Broadcasting operators as per their license obligations for the period 1 January to 31 March 2023.

South Africa

Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, 2022

On 23 June 2023, the Department of Communications and Digital Technologies gazetted the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill, 2023 for public comment, which is aimed at, among others, providing a new licence category for electronic communications facilities, enabling the Minister responsible for local government to make a national standard by‑law on rapid development, enabling spectrum sharing, regulating roaming and mobile virtual networks, and improving competition regulation.  The deadline for comment is 4 August 2023.

Phase 1 Evaluations for the Applications to Pre-Register for the Provision of Community Sound Broadcasting Services and Radio Frequency Spectrum licences

On 12 May 2023, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) issued a media statement indicating that they have concluded Phase 1 evaluations for the applications to pre-register for the provision of community sound broadcasting services.  Five applicants who have successfully complied with the pre-registration requirements are admitted to Phase 2 of the licensing process.  Unfortunately, 51 applicants were ultimately disqualified from the ITP-R licensing process, for failure to meet one or more of the pre-registration requirements.

Notice regarding its intention to conduct an inquiry into Phase 2 of the implementation of Dynamic Spectrum Access and Opportunistic Spectrum Management

On 22 May 2023, ICASA gazette an Erratum regarding the deadline for submission of representations on the Discussion Document on Dynamic Spectrum Access and Opportunistic Spectrum Management, which was published on 31 March 2023. The deadline was extended to 26 June 2023. 

Notice to amend Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015

On 23 May 2023, ICASA gazetted a Notice to Amend Annexure B of the Radio Frequency Spectrum Regulations, 2015, which came into effect on date of gazette.

Notice of Commencement of the Cost Modelling Phase with respect to the Review of the Pro-Competitive Conditions imposed on Relevant Licensees in terms of the Call Termination Regulations, 2014 (as Amended)

On 26 May 2023, ICASA gazetted its Notice of Commencement of the Cost Modelling Phase with respect to the Review of the Pro-Competitive Conditions imposed on Relevant Licensees in terms of the Call Termination Regulations, 2014 (as Amended). The cost modelling phase follows the conclusion of the Market Review Phase, which culminated in the publication of the Authority’s Findings Document on the Review of the 2014 Pro-competitive Remedies Imposed on Licensees in terms of the Regulations.

Advertising Infomercials and Programme Sponsorship Regulations, 2023, and Reasons Document

On 29 June 2023, ICASA gazetted the Advertising Infomercials and Programme Sponsorship Regulations, and Reasons Document, which will come into force after six months from date of publication.  These Regulations repeal, in their entirety, the Independent Broadcasting Authority (Advertising, Infomercials and Programme and Sponsorship) Regulations, 1999 published in Notice No. R. 426 (Government Gazette No. 19922) of 1 April 1999.

Consumer Advisory Panel Regulations, 2023

On 14 July 2023, ICASA gazetted the Consumer Advisory Panel Regulations, 2023, which establish the Panel, set out the criteria and process for the appointment, disqualification and removal of Panel members, and set out the roles and responsibilities of the Panel.

Seychelles

Communications Act, No. 3 of 2023

On 18 April 2023, the Communications Act, No. 3 of 2023 was gazetted. The Act consolidates and revises the law relating to broadcasting and electronic communications.

Broadcasting and Telecommunication (Mobile Number Portability) Regulations, 2023

On 8 May 2023, the Broadcasting and Telecommunication (Mobile Number Portability) Regulations, 2023 were gazetted. The Regulations set out the requirements for mobile number portability.

ICT Sector Performance Statistics as at the end of March 2023

On 28 June 2023, the Department of Information Communications Technology published its ICT Sector Performance Statistics as at the end of March 2023

Tanzania

Electronic and Postal Communications (Tele-Traffic) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023

On 23 June 2023, the Electronic and Postal Communications (Tele-Traffic) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 was gazetted. The Regulations amend the Electronic and Postal Communications (Tele-Traffic) Regulations, 2021.

Electronic and Postal Communications (Domain Names Management) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023

On 23 June 2023, the Electronic and Postal Communications (Domain Names Management) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 was gazetted. The Regulations amend the Electronic and Postal Communications (Domain Names Management) Regulations, 2020.

Communications Statistics Report for Q3 of 2022/2023

On 24 April 2023, the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) published its Communications Statistics Report for Q3 of 2022/2023.  The Report covers Telecommunications Services, Mobile Money Services, Internet Services, Broadcasting Services, Postal Services and Other ICT related Statistics from January to March 2023.

Quality of Service for Mobile Communication Services for January to March 2023

On 28 March 2023, the TCRA published its Quality of Service for Mobile Communications Services in Tanzania report, which covered the period January to March 2023.

Uganda

Regulation of Interception of Communications Regulations, 2023

On 12 May 2023, the Uganda Communications Authority (UCC) gazetted the Regulation of Interception of Communications Regulations, 2023, which, among others, establish the Monitoring Centre, Monitoring Centre committees and their duties, prescribes the form for applications for warrants of interception and provides for registration of SIM cards.

Call for Expression of Interest for Radio Frequency Spectrum in different bands to facilitate the deployment of broadband services in Uganda

On 25 May 2023, the UCC published its Call for Expression of Interest for Radio Frequency Spectrum in different bands to facilitate the deployment of broadband services in Uganda.  On 6 June 2023, the UCC published an Addendum to the Call for Expression of Interest. The deadline for submission of applications was 7 June 2023.  .

Consumer Bi-Annual Report – July to December 2022

On 17 April 2023, the UCC published its Consumer Bi-Annual Report for July to December 2022.  This e Bi-Annual Report highlights the Commission’s efforts in the fulfilment of its consumer protection mandate. It is a summary of the initiatives and outcomes on the empowerment, transparency, and accountability obligations to the consumer.

Market Performance Reports – Q3 and Q4 of 2022

On 6 June 2022, the UCC published its Market Performance Reports for Q3 and Q4 of 2022.  This is a review of the industry performance, trends and key developments for the quarter starting July to September 2022 and October to December 2022. 

Terms of Reference to Undertake an Ex-Post Regulatory Impact Assessment for the 2017 TV Licensing Framework

On 16 June 2023, the UCC published its Terms of Reference to Undertake an Ex-Post Regulatory Impact Assessment for the 2017 TV Licensing Framework.

Request for Proposals for Implementation of the UCC Data Science & Analytics Project – Phase 01

On 16 June 2023, the UCC published a Request for Proposals for Implementation of the UCC Data Science & Analytics Project – Phase 01. Applications were due on 26 June 2023.

Zambia

Numbering Report, 2023

On 17 April 2023, the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority published its Numbering Report, 2023.

Zimbabwe

Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 2)

On 9 June 2023, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services gazetted the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (Fees) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 2), which repeals and substitutes the First Schedule to the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights Regulations, 2006, and repeals the Copyright and Neighbouring Rights (Amendment) Regulations, 2009 (No. 1).

Postal and Telecommunications (Domain Names Registration and Management) Regulations, 2023

On 16 June 2023, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services gazetted the Postal and Telecommunications (Domain Names Registration and Management) Regulations, 2023, which apply to every registration under the country code Top Level Domain, also called the national Domain of the country.

Postal and Telecommunications (Postal Services) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 3)

On 16 June 2023, the Minister of Information Communication Technology, Postal and Courier Services gazetted the Postal and Telecommunications (Postal Services) Amendment Regulations, 2023 (No. 3), which amends the Postal and Telecommunications (Postal Services) Regulations, 2001.

Broadcasting Services (Community and Campus Radio Broadcasting Services) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 2)

On 30 June 2023, the Minister of Information, Publicity and Broadcasting Services gazetted the Broadcasting Services (Community and Campus Radio Broadcasting Services) (Amendment) Regulations, 2023 (No. 2), which amend the Broadcasting Services (Community and Campus Radio Broadcasting Services) Regulations, 2020.

Consumer Protection (General) Regulations, 2023

On 7 July 2023, the Minister of Industry and Commerce gazetted the Consumer Protection (General) Regulations, 2023 which, among others, provides for the accreditation of consumer advocacy groups, designation of consumer protection organisations and the rules that apply to such organisations, registration of consumer protection officers, as well as the submission, investigation and resolution of complaints.

MISA State of Media Report, 2022

On 5 May 2023, MISA Zimbabwe published its State of Media Report, 2022.

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This e-bulletin provides only general information on legislative and regulatory developments, which we consider key. It is not our intention to list all developments in the sector across Sub-Saharan Africa. For further information, please contact Wendy Rosenberg, Tebogo Sibidla or Samantha Sinden of Werksmans Attorneys – South Africa

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