SBC/AT&T (who’s not going to bring it to you)

Business Report – Terms of Telkom shareholding sale to Thintana put both ‘above the law’

SBC, described as “congenitally litigious”, is said to have played a major role in the failure of South Africa’s telecoms policy to develop a competitive telephone service.

Under SBC’s control Telkom not only failed to meet its roll-out obligations but behaved “as a tax on industry and a drag on economic growth”.

SBC had, with a 15.5 percent stake, been a managing shareholder in MTN in the mid-nineties, said Myers, and had a “good understanding of South African politics” when the government put the Telkom stake up for sale.

In an interview with the authors last year, Myers explained that when it became clear that SBC would secure the Telkom stake, “the company temporarily transferred its entire San Antonio [Texas] corporate office legislative team to South Africa to help draft the Telecommunications Act, to make sure the legislation comported with the company’s requirements”.

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