Cell C drops call termination review against Icasa

Cell C has withdrawn its application to review the Call Termination Regulations of 2014, said Icasa.

“Icasa welcomes Cell C’s decision to withdraw its application as it vindicates Icasa’s view that the Regulations were both lawful and procedurally fair,” it said.

Call termination rates are the fees that operators pay one another to connect a call from their network to another carrier’s network.

News of Cell C’s withdrawal comes after the operator promised to fight Icasa’s finalised call termination regulations in September 2014.

Icasa published the new termination regulations after the South Gauteng High Court struck down its first attempt as invalid and unlawful.

Vodacom and MTN, who were unhappy about the level of asymmetry Cell C would enjoy, brought the matter before the High Court.

Asymmetry in call termination rates means that certain operators, typically smaller ones like Cell C and Telkom, get more money from larger operators to terminate calls.

The effect of Icasa’s new call termination regulations were mid-contract price increases from Cell C, MTN, and Vodacom.

Cell C and MTN also discontinued promotional prepaid tariff plans that offered any network call rates of 50c and 60c per minute respectively.

Process took too long: Cell C

Cell C said that its decision to take this step is purely based on timing.

“The decision to withdraw follows a lengthy process of more than a year of obtaining the record from Icasa, finalising the papers in the review application and obtaining a Court date for the hearing,” Cell C said.

“The length of time it has taken to get to Court, which is the unfortunate reality of litigating in South Africa, has effectively made Cell C’s application redundant.”

This is because Icasa is due to start its review of the market in the next few months in anticipation of the existing MTR regulations coming to an end next year, Cell C said.

Even a ruling in Cell C’s favour would have had little practical effect, as Cell C was asking the Court to order Icasa to revisit its decision by conducting a market review.

“Cell C will participate in the upcoming Icasa process to consider [mobile termination rates] post October 2017 to ensure that its concerns are addressed in that forum,” the network said.

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Cell C drops call termination review against Icasa