Icasa: Call termination rates to be reduced

The Independent Communications Authority of South African (Icasa) and telecommunications companies will embark on a process to cut call termination rates, the authority said on Tuesday.

Following a meeting between Icasa, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom, Neotel and the Internet Service Providers’ Association, Icasa said the interconnect rate had been discussed.

Interconnect rates are the amounts charged by networks for carrying calls on behalf of one another, with South Africa having exorbitant interconnect fees when compared with most other countries.

“The meeting was necessitated by the ongoing public discussions around the cost of call termination in the country,” Icasa said in a statement.

After deliberations, the meeting had resolved to embark on an industry-led process to reduce termination—or interconnection—rates, with Icasa exercising an oversight responsibility.

The meeting resolved to ensure that in negotiating a new termination rate regime they took into account competition law requirements.

The meeting decided to conclude negotiations between the operators by the end of December 2009, with Icasa proposing an implementation date of February 1 2010.

“Meanwhile, Icasa will continue with its process in terms of Chapter 10 of the Electronic Communications Act.

“This process will entail the publication of the necessary regulatory framework pursuant to regulations defining the relevant market; evaluating the effectiveness of competition; a declaration of licensees with significant market power; and the implementation of pro-competitive remedies.”—Sapa

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