Instant messaging service, WhatApp, may face licensing and regulation in SA, depending on the outcome of planned Parliament hearings this January. Over-the-top (OTT) internet services such as WhatsApp and Skype have rocketed in usage in SA with over 10 million users in the country.
It is said that the hearings are set to discuss “necessary policy interventions on how to govern OTTs, regulatory interventions on the guidelines to regulate OTTs” and the “impact of OTTs on competition”. Another matter to be discussed is whether there is a need for OTTs to be classified as telecom services or telecom infrastructure.
In September last year, Vodacom and MTN called for the regulation of OTT services in South Africa.