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On Thursday, we told you about how proposed attempts to regulate over the top (OTT) players could fast become ludicrous. It’s a sentiment widely shared in the tech space and which is rapidly spreading to South African population as a whole.
Further evidence of antipathy towards regulating OTTs has emerged in the shape of an online poll on All4Women.co.za, urging government to leave the services such as WhatsApp, Skype, and Google Hangouts alone.
“Mobile monopolies Vodacom and MTN have petitioned the South African government to ‘regulate’ free phone and message providers such as WhatsApp and Skype,” the petition says.
“They are doing so,” it adds “with the claim that they are losing profits to these alternative communication systems. Systems which help the people of South Africa stay in touch with friends and family, build and manage businesses, and communicate internationally”.
According to the petition, those profits are built on the back of some of the “highest cell phone rates and SMS rates in the world”.
“We thought the whole issue of trying to regulate a communications platform is really an issue of corporate greed,” All4Women editor Sasha Wyatt-Minter told Fin24.
“We thought that the South African government can’t start listening to people who want to do things for the wrong sorts of reasons because we need to listen to the voice of South Africa, the voice of the people,” she said.
The petition, which the publication plans to hand to Ms Mmamoloko Tryphosa Kubayi, chairperson of the Portfolio Committee on Telecommunications and Postal Services and Faith Muthambi, Minister of Communications and the Presidency, had been signed nearly 5 000 times at time of publication.