ICASA has once again failed to address Vodacom-MTN duopoly – Telkom

ICASA has published new wholesale call termination rate regulations, and Telkom said it is disappointed with the regulator’s decision.

“This decision is another missed opportunity for ICASA to reduce the cost to communicate,” Telkom told MyBroadband.

“This was an opportunity for ICASA to introduce a call termination rate structure that challenges the duopoly in the mobile market and reduces the costs to communicate through encouraging increased competition.” This is in reference to Vodacom and MTN’s domination of the mobile market.

ICASA’s decision also does not recognise increasing convergence of fixed and mobile technologies, Telkom said.

“Telkom is reviewing the impact of this decision on its operations.”

Telkom said it does not plan to launch a legal challenge against ICASA’s new call termination rates, however.

From October 2018, operators will pay Telkom R0.09 to terminate a call on its fixed network. To connect a call to Vodacom or MTN, operators will have to pay R0.12.

Cell C and Telkom will be able to charge R0.18 to terminate calls on their mobile networks.

ICASA has imposed a glide path on these costs, steadily decreasing them over three years.

From October 2020, Telkom will be able to charge R0.06 to connect a call onto its fixed network. Vodacom and MTN will be able to charge R0.09, while Cell C and Telkom Mobile will be able to set their prices at R0.13.

Telkom has been pleading with ICASA to have the same wholesale tariffs for fixed and mobile call termination. It argues that it is effectively subsidising the continued expansion of Vodacom and MTN, which feeds the unchallenged dominance of two mobile networks.

Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C said they would comment on ICASA’s new call termination regulations in due course.

“Cell C looks forward to gaining a view of the full regulations that ICASA has indicated will be published on Friday,” the operator told MyBroadband.

“At a high-level, Cell C welcomes the inclusion of asymmetric rates in favour of non-dominant operators which is a positive pro-competitive measure.”

MTN said that it also awaits the final regulations, which are set to be published in the government gazette on 28 September.

“MTN will comply with ICASA’s regulatory process once the regulations have been effected,” the company said.

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ICASA has once again failed to address Vodacom-MTN duopoly – Telkom