Lesotho Regulator Agrees Not To Revoke Vodacom’s Licence


By James Barton

An ongoing dispute between South Africa’s Vodacom Group and the Lesotho Communications Authority (LCA) has been resolved by the Lesotho High Court.

In an order dated 1st November, the high court overturned the LCA’s decision to withdraw Vodacom Lesotho’s operating licence, while at the same time ordering the operator to pay ZAR4 million (US$231,000) to the regulator. The settlement was reached following negotiations and has been agreed to by both parties.

CommsUpdate reports that the dispute dates back to 2019, when the LCA accused Vodacom failing to meet a number of its licence requirements. These included paying regulatory fees and Universal Access Fund obligations, as well as appointing an external auditor as per the terms of both its licence and the 2011 Lesotho Companies Act.

While Vodacom moved to address several of these issues in early 2020, this did not stop the LCA from issuing the operator with a LSL134 million (USD7.7 million) in September that year. A month later, when Vodacom had not yet paid, the regulator then threatened to withdraw its operating licence.

Vodacom responded by petitioning the High Court to pause these directives while it reviewed them, resulting in an interim court order that blocked the LCA from enforcing them.

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