The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) released a press statement today announcing that it has finalized its investigation into local call termination rates and is set to publish the regulations on Friday.
This process started a long time ago, but with pressure from parliament, consumers, industry players and the media ICASA dedicated a great deal of energy to the process in recent months.
ICASA published its draft Call Termination Regulations in April, surprising many South Africans with its proposal that mobile termination rates should be reduced to R 0.65 from July 2010 and further reduced to R 0.40 from July 2012.
The regulator also suggested that fixed termination rates are to be reduced to R 0.15 from July 2010 and further reduced to R 0.10 from July 2012.
Stakeholders raised a multitude of concerns during the public hearings, chiefly around the proposed glide-path and how this may negatively affect their businesses.
Counter to this, however, was the desired result of enhanced competition that would ultimately benefit consumers through a reduction in retail prices.
“Owing to concerns raised by stakeholders during the public hearings and in the interest of balancing the Authority’s triple mandate of ensuring fair prices to consumers, promoting competition in the ICT sector whilst ensuring a favourable investment environment, the Authority held further one-on-one meetings with those stakeholders that requested the opportunity to do so,” ICASA said.
Regulations here soon
The goal of these regulations is to overcome identified market failures in the provision of call termination services, identified as:
- a lack of the provision of access
- the potential for discrimination between licensees offering similar services
- a lack of transparency
- inefficient pricing
Amongst other objectives, these regulations intend to reduce the wholesale price licensees charge each other for reaching their customers from the current commercially agreed upon scenario to a regulated rate based on the cost of providing such a service.
“Such action is necessary to foster competition in the ICT sector, ultimately with the effect of lower prices being paid by consumers,” ICASA said.
ICASA today announced that it has finalized the needed process and will be publishing the final Call Termination Regulations in the Government Gazette on Friday, 29 October 2010.
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