iBurst’s lack of integrity

WAPA Press Release 26 February 2007

The Wireless Access Providers Association (WAPA) would like to register its dismay at the lack of integrity in the actions and tactics of iBurst (Pty) Ltd as recently reported in the media.

iBurst created and caused the distribution of 140 000 colour pamphlets claiming that Eastern Cape WAPA member Aerosat was, amongst other things, “unlicensed” and a “fly-by-night-operator”. Aerosat has been advised that statements contained in the flyer are defamatory and untrue and has reserved its rights in respect of proceeding against iBurst for damages and/or an apology.

According to WAPA statements attributed to the MD of iBurst in the wake of its ill-advised marketing venture are at best disingenuous.

iBurst have acknowledged that they were responsible for the flyers but allege that “this campaign is not trying to gain a competitive advantage but rather serves to educate the public”.

This statement seems to indicate an unhealthy underestimation of the intelligence of consumers and begs the simple question: If iBurst wished to perform a public service in educating the pamphlet, why did they fail to put their names on the flyers?

iBurst claim to have the “full support” of the Regulator. The Regulator was however unaware of the pamphlet when contacted by WAPA and ICASA representatives chose to distance themselves from the pamphlet.

The reality is that while iBurst claims the support of the Regulator on the one hand its market vigilantism on the other displays a complete lack of faith in the competence and ability of that same Regulator.

WAPA has, as previously stated, engaged with ICASA with regard to the position of wireless access providers in South Africa and is aware that iBurst has done the same. The matter is therefore properly before the Regulator and will be resolved in due course.

Call to engage

WAPA reiterates its invitation to iBurst to engage in consultations with the industry representative body so as to ensure that operators who are illegally using spectrum can easily be dealt with; and that the interests of all users of licenced and public spectrum, including consumers, can be protected.