ICASA, South Africa’s telephone regulator, is proposing to cut the fees charged by Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom to handle calls from other providers, a move that could hit revenues for phone firms and pave way for cheaper calls.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said in a statement on Thursday that the draft Call Termination Rates Regulations seek to further reduce mobile termination rates (MTR) – the price that mobile and fixed network operators charge each other for terminating calls between networks.
The regulator proposes that the incumbent mobile cellular operators were expected to reduce their MTR to 12c from 20c as of October 2018. It further proposed that this should be reduced to 10c from October 2019 and to reach 9c by October 2020.
The communications watchdog also proposed that the fixed termination rate for companies such as Telkom should be reduced to 8c from 12c as of October 2018, and to 5c from October 2019 and to reach 3c by 2020.
It also disclosed asymmetry for small players and new entrants for the duration of the three-year glide path. It proposed that the asymmetry for mobile services is proposed to be at 5c from October 2018 to September 2020 and 4c from October 2020 onwards.
Asymmetry for fixed services is proposed to be 1c from October 2018 to September 2020 and fall away completely from October 2020 onwards.
The Call Termination Rates regulations were contentious and challenged in court by mobile phone operators.
ICASA said on Thursday that it is inviting interested stakeholders to participate in a process to review pro-competitive conditions imposed on licensees in respect of the call termination regulations of 2014.
The draft Regulations were published on 16 August 2018. The deadline for submission of written comments is 7 September 2018.
The move to review mobile and fixed termination rates may be aimed at further reducing the high cost to communicate in South Africa.