Cell C calls for cheaper rates

2012-11-16 09:35
A flat rate call rates across networks should help bring the costs down for consumers, mobile operator Cell C has said. (Paul Sakuma, AP)

A flat rate call rates across networks should help bring the costs down for consumers, mobile operator Cell C has said. (Paul Sakuma, AP)

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Cape Town - A flat rate call rates across networks should help bring the costs down for consumers, a mobile operator has said.

"It shouldn't matter to any consumer who he's calling and what network they're on. Therefore flat rate should be made mandatory," Cell C CEO Alan Knott-Craig told News24.

He asserted that the Mobile Terminating Rates (MTR) which are some of the highest in the world, should be reduced to 15c.

"Even if it [MTR] goes down to 15c, it will be double the big countries around the world. So I'm not suggesting something horrendous here; I'm just suggesting let's be twice as expensive as the rest of the world. That should be okay.

"Right now MTR comprises more than 50% of the cost of any telephone cost in South Africa," said Knott-Craig.

Porting

Some networks charge different call rates depending on whether a customer calls a number on the same or competing network.

However, number porting that was introduced in SA makes it difficult for cellphone user to determine whether they are calling to their home network.

Knott-Craig said that the flat rate is a more equitable system because users should not be penalised for calling competing networks.

"We have porting in the country so you can't tell who you're calling anymore just by looking at the number. South Africa is one of the few countries in the world left that has on- and off-net rates," Knott-Craig said, speaking at the AfricaCom technology conference in Cape Town.

As CEO of Vodacom, Knott-Craig drove mobile network coverage in SA. He said that the big operators like Vodacom and MTN were not committed to reducing the cost of mobile networks because it was not in their interests.

"You can't look to operators for a solution for these things, because it's against their interests that's not how business works.

"So you go the small guys, like us, like me: I'm now a small guy. You come to me and I'll tell how to fix it. I've been with the big guys, but now I'm a small guy."


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