March 5, 2013
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) urges the South African public against the purchasing or importing, including bringing in handsets when you travel to other countries.
While, the handsets may be similar to models available locally they are configured for the networks of countries for which they were manufactured - they are specifically optimised for the frequency allocations of those network operators. All handsets brought into South Africa must be type approved by ICASA. It is a criminal offence to use a non-type approved handset on local networks.
Consumers who purchase handsets from flea-markets and other retailers may also be vulnerable and may have bought illegal handsets. Interference by illegal handsets affects between 100 000 to 200 000 subscribers daily, either through slow or poor internet browsing and e-mail traffic.
The Authority is beginning a nationwide Crack-down on illegal handsets. While, the Authority has the power to search and seize illegal equipment, it encourages the public to hand in handsets to its offices in all provinces. Details of handsets and the location of offices are detailed below.
The nationwide programme will be begin on the Cape Peninsula area due to the unprecedented and alarming number of incidents that have severely impacted the networks and rights of operators and subscribers. For the past two years, ICASA attended to more than 30 cases of frequency spectrum interference, first in the Sea Point area, and later the interference has spread to the entire Cape Peninsula.
Why do handset models that are sometimes available locally cause interference in the South African market?
Due to the varied configurations of handsets for the different markets, a non-type approved handset has the potential to cause interference at two levels:
first, it negatively impacts your call quality and secondly, it causes interference to mobile towers and other subscribers.
Such interference violates the licence rights of operators, and subscribers. The result of interference is poor quality of service and the non-availability of access to the network and increased dropped calls and slower data rates.
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Underlying legislation that empowers ICASA
The Electronic Communications and ICASA Acts empower ICASA to investigate to confiscate any equipment that causes interference, including handsets. ICASA has the authority to confiscate any equipment without compensation to subscribers.
Handsets causing interference
This is the list of handsets that are causing interference, and the public is urged to hand these in to ICASA offices urgently. These are not the only handsets causing interference, these are just the most prevalent at the moment.
Report illegal handsets
Consumers are urged to work with the Authority to;
Identify retailer selling illegal handsets
Not to buy any handset that does not have the ICASA type approval sticker.
Below are the details of the regional offices. Consumers are urged to drop-off handsets at any of these offices or to call for further information:
14th floor Golden Acre Building
Cnr Adderley and Strand Streets
Tel: 021 431 9800
Suite 1500 Victoria Maine Building
71 Margaret Mncadi Avenue
Tel: 031 334 9500
4th Floor Execu Business Centre
Newton Street, Newton Park
Tel: 041 394 1600
Cnr Koller and Lombard Streets
Tel: 051 411 5900
Block A, Pinmill Farm, 164 Katherine Str
Tel: 011 566 3089
Jubie Matlou, Senior Manager, Communications and International Relations
Cell: 082 376 0015
Tel: 011 566 3463
Fax: 011 566 3452