Telkom granted leave to appeal LCR ruling
Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Following the landmark judgement handed down in October by Pretoria High Court Judge IWB de Villiers, the decision was made today that Telkom be granted leave to appeal the original ruling.
The case, which has run for some years, was concluded late in October with the ruling that LCR (least cost routing) systems and equipment are not, as Telkom contested, illegal and do not infringe the national carrier's rights under the relevant legislation.
This major victory for the service providers in the industry will now be appealed by Telkom.
"The original High Court judgement was a resounding victory for a critically important sector of the industry," says Mark Taylor, MD of Nashua Mobile and first among the several respondents in the case. "This decision to allow an appeal does not diminish what we have always maintained that LCR services are in no way illegal."
The Telkom appeal will be heard by the Supreme Court of Appeals in Bloemfontein. This would appear to be a final option. Such a process could easily take between 12 and 18 months.
Even with the Telkom appeal, the original ruling will stand and new and existing users of LCR services may continue to enjoy the benefits of LCR.
Our own legal team are of the opinion that the original judgement is hard to argue against. It must be noted that, in the case of an appeal, no new evidence is allowed, so the merits of the original decision remain from our viewpoint almost incontestable.
This is a very important matter. We are talking here about an industry already worth some R2 billion per year which has demonstrated both growth and growing interest from major corporates and smaller businesses. It is unfortunate that the aura of uncertainty created by Telkom's original court action resulted in some fence-sitting by many companies that would otherwise have eagerly adopted the LCR technology.
Obviously, this worked in favour of the national carrier's own interests some R6 billion is spent every year on calls made from Telkom landlines to cellular numbers.
The present decision to allow an appeal no doubt takes into consideration the major issues of the original case and how they impact on the industry and the larger national economy. We are still confident, however, that our arguments are sound and will ultimately be vindicated in the country's highest court of appeal.
No matter what size of business is considered, LCR offers the savings and improved efficiency that generate a competitive advantage and we look forward to continuing to offer what we have always contested was a legal service still confident that the legal issues will be resolved in favour of the industry and consumers in general.
About Nashua Mobile:
Nashua Mobile is South Africa's largest, independent cellular solutions provider and one of the few providers to offer consumers the choice of all three networks (Vodacom, MTN and Cell C). Nashua Mobile provides world-class communications solutions and support to professionals, customers and consumers in small and medium-sized enterprises. More than 300 000 of South Africa's two and a half million plus contracted cellular subscribers are Nashua Mobile subscribers. Headquartered in Midrand, Gauteng, Nashua Mobile has 100 outlets strategically placed across South Africa. More information on Nashua Mobile is available at www.nashuamobile.com. Nashua Mobile is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Reunert Limited Group ( http://www.reunert.co.za) which is listed on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange in the electronics and electrical sector. Nashua Mobile has some 600 members of staff, and was also voted one of South Africa's best companies to work for in the Finance Week and Corporate Research Foundation survey.
Marle van der Merwe
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