Rica cost cellphone firms millions

Pretoria - South African wireless phone operators forked out more than R800m on marketing and new staff as they rushed to register customer simcards under a new law in the country, they said on Wednesday.

Under the Regulation of Interception of Communication Act (Rica), cellphone simcards had to be registered by June 30, or risk being cut off from the network.

MTN Group [JSE:MTN] and larger rival Vodacom Group [JSE:VOD] spent about R250m each on the exercise, while unlisted Cell C said it invested between R300m and R400m.

Under the new law, the government requires cellphone cards to be registered to a name and an address to make it easier to trace users in the fight against crime.

 
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