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Selling, maintaining franking machines do not require licensing

The Botswana Communication Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) says selling and maintaining franking machines does not require a licence under the Communications Regulatory Authority Act, 2012 as it does not amount to providing a postal service under the Act.

This determination was made after BOCRA presided over a matter between Easimail (Pty) Ltd and BotswanaPost involving the supply and maintenance of franking machines.

BOCRA presided over a matter between Easimail and BotswanaPost

The regulator pointed out that franking machines require Type Approval in terms of Section 85 of the CRA Act and all the machines used in Botswana should conform to the ISO 5138-7:1986 standard or its equivalent; and “there is no justification for limiting the number of companies that wish to sell franking machines.”

In 2005, Easimail and BotswanaPost entered into an arrangement that mandated Easimail to collect monies due to BotswanaPost in respect of a postage fees purchased by users of franking machines; collect annual fees for each deployed franking machine on behalf of BotswanaPost; and provide remote meter setting for customers.

“Following a fraud incident in 2013, the arrangement was varied relieving Easimail of the mandate to collect monies due to BotswanaPost in respect of postage fees purchased by users of franking machines,” BOCRA revealed.

Easimail sought the intervention of BOCRA when this year, BotswanaPost started contacting Easimail contracted customers proposing to supply them with franking machines directly. BotswanaPost held the view that a franking service was a component of postal services, and as such Easimail was contravening the CRA Act by offering this service without a license from BOCRA. BotswanaPost further argued that the advent of the CRA Act nullified the arrangement it had with Easimail as the powers to license the sale of franking machines now resided with BOCRA.

BOCRA determined that Easimail did not contravene CRA Act as selling and maintaining franking machines does not amount to providing a postal service that requires a licence under the Act. BOCRA also determined that ranking machines require Type Approval in terms of Section 85 of the CRA Act and that all franking machines used in Botswana should conform to the ISO 5138-7:1986 standard or its equivalent.

Finally, BOCRA determined that there was no justification for limiting the number of companies that wish to sell franking machines hence BotswanaPost was entitled to participate in the business. However, BotswanaPost was required to sign a Service Level Agreement with end users of franking machines to ensure that it does not give preferential treatment to its franking machine customers. The Service Level Agreement which would be approved by BOCRA must be based on the key principles of open access, transparency and non-discrimination.

Franking machines have been around for over 90 years now, helping businesses of different sizes to process their mail quickly and efficiently. If franking is fairly new territory for you or you have no idea how your franking machine works, this infographic is just for you.

Motswana Entrepreneur Magazine ,