Icasa begins review of cellphone rates

2014-05-22 08:49

A process to review the new call termination rates proposed by Icasa has started.

The 2010 call termination regulations state that the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa would review: the wholesale voice call termination markets to which the regulations apply, the effectiveness of competition and the application of pro-competitive measures in those markets after a minimum period of three years, spokesperson Paseka Malekathe said yesterday.

For that to be done in a transparent and fair manner, questionnaires would be issued to every licensee to seek information for the review.

“The questionnaires are available for download at www.icasa.org.za. All responses to the questionnaires are expected in Excel format only,” Malekathe said.

“Licensees are required to submit responses to Icasa on or before Friday, June 13 2014.”

On March 31, the high court in Johannesburg declared new call termination rates proposed by Icasa to be invalid and unlawful.

The court gave Icasa six months to amend its regulations.

MTN and Vodacom had taken Icasa to court on an urgent basis to stop it from implementing a regulation on mobile termination rates.

These are the rates operators pay one another for calls to other networks.

Icasa wants to implement a set of regulations that will see these rates dropped to 10c a minute in 2016.

For 2014, cellphone giants MTN and Vodacom will have to pay 44c a minute to smaller operators, while the smaller companies will have to pay only 20c, in an asymmetrical structure.

MTN and Vodacom want the 2014 regulations scrapped.

Alternatively, they want interim relief to prevent the introduction of the new rates until they have been reviewed.

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