Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) is waging a campaign to alert the public to the illegality of unapproved cordless phones that cause extensive interference in network services and effectively disrupt communication services in South Africa.
All cordless phones brought into South Africa must be type approved by ICASA and it is a criminal offence to use a non-type approved phone in South Africa. Consumers who purchase phones from retailers or flea markets may be vulnerable and may have bought illegal phones. All type-approved equipment must have a gold ICASA type-approval sticker.
South Africans are warned against the purchasing or importing of cordless phones, including bringing in phones into the country when they travel to other countries. While phones may be similar to models available locally, they are configured for the networks of countries for which they were manufactured - ie specifically optimised for the frequency allocations of the service providers of those countries.
Due to the varied configurations of phones for the different markets, a non-type approved phone has the potential to cause interference at two levels:
Western Cape worst offenders
- It negatively impacts user's call quality and
- It causes interference to mobile towers and other subscribers.
ICASA is beginning a nationwide crackdown on illegal phones. While ICASA has the power to search and seize illegal equipment, it encourages the public to hand in phones to its regional offices.
The nationwide programme will begin in the Cape Peninsula area due to the unprecedented and alarming number of incidents that have severely affected the networks and rights of operators and consumers. During the past two years, ICASA attended to more than 30 cases of interference, first in the Sea Point area, and later the interference had spread to the entire Cape Peninsula.
The Electronic Communications and ICASA Acts empower it to investigate and to confiscate any equipment that causes interference, including handsets, without compensation to subscribers.
Consumers are urged to work with the authority by identify retailers selling illegal phones and not buying any phone that does not have the ICASA type approval sticker.
For more, go to www.icasa.org.za