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ZTE to pay SA authorities R5M for 'cartel conduct'

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ZTE's South Africa operation has agreed to pay local authorities R5 million (US$321,300) in a settlement deal in order to put to bed accusations of alleged "cartel conduct" and collusion to divide markets in SA.

The Chinese-headquartered provider of telecommunications equipment and network solutions' local unit, ZTE South Africa, agreed to pay the settlement and "refrain from engaging in any prohibited practice or anti-competitive conduct" in contravention of the Competition Act in future.

The case dates back to 2013 when South Africa's Competition Commission launched an investigation after allegations that two ZTE entities, ZTE SA and ZTE Mzansi, had agreed to divide markets by allocating customers between themselves, which contravenes the local Competition Act.

The Commission alleged that the parties agreed to divide the market in that ZTE Mzansi would distribute telecommunications equipment and network solutions to public sector customers while ZTE SA would distribute similar products to private sector customers.

"Although ZTE SA has agreed to the terms of the settlement agreement, it does not admit liability in respect of the conduct as alleged by the Commission," the Competition Tribunal said in a statement.

"The Commission, in turn, has agreed to enter into the settlement agreement with ZTE SA without an admission of liability, based on various factors, read with the remedies contained in the settlement agreement, including that ZTE SA has not previously been found guilty of contravening the Act."

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*Top image is of ZTE's office in Milan (Source: Guilhem Vellut on Flickr via CC 2.0).

— The Staff, Connecting Africa

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