The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) announced in a press statement on Thursday, 20 February 2014, that it has decided to shorten the period by which it will delay its new call termination regulations.
Icasa officially introduced South Africa’s new call termination rates (CTRs) in January 2014, which would see a dramatic decrease over the next 3 years. Smaller operators such as Cell C and Telkom Mobile would also benefit from increased assymetry in the rates.
CTRs are the fees operators charge one another when calls from one network have to be routed to another. When a Cell C customer calls Vodacom, for example, Vodacom charges Cell C to terminate the call on its network.
The asymmetry would let Cell C and Telkom Mobile charge MTN and Vodacom far more to terminate calls on their networks than the larger networks could charge Cell C and Telkom Mobile.
Icasa’s new call termination regulations were set to come in effect from 1 March 2014, but the regulator announced earlier this month that it would delay the commencement date to 1 May following a court application by MTN.
It has since decided to only delay until 1 April 2014, Icasa said.
“After further consideration and consultation with legal counsel, Icasa’s council has decided that the commencement of the 2014 regulations need only be delayed by one month,” Icasa said in a statement.
Icasa said that it is in the public interest that MTN’s application for interim relief be resolved as quickly as possible.
“After studying the papers, the Council of Icasa is also of the view that a delay of one month is sufficient to ensure that the affected parties have sufficient time to properly prepare their answering papers,” Icasa said.
“To this end, on 19 February 2014 Icasa published the Call Termination Amendment Regulations, 2014 which (i) delay the commencement of the 2014 Regulations by one month from 1 March 2014 to 1 April 2014 and (ii) extend the operation of the 2010 Regulations by one month.”