Telkom to appeal least cost routing ruling
Tuesday, 2 December 2003
Telecommunications group Telkom (TKG) has reportedly been granted leave to appeal the ruling made last year that least cost routing LCR (LCR) systems and equipment are not, as Telkom contested, illegal and do not infringe the national carrier's rights under the relevant legislation.
Nashua Mobile, which is first among the several respondents in the case, reports that 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 original High Court judgement was a resounding victory for a critically important sector of the industry," says Nashua Mobile MD Mark Taylor.
"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, which could 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 2 billion rand 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," said Taylor.
He said this worked in favour of the national carrier's own interests - some 6 billion rand 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."