Telkom has suggested that ICASA maintain higher levels of call tariff asymmetry between small network operators and larger ones, while conducting its review of South Africa’s telecommunication market.
This means that Telkom is advocating for Vodacom and MTN to pay higher rates to connect callers from their networks to subscribers on Cell C and Telkom’s mobile networks.
Sipho Maseko, Telkom CEO, made the statement when addressing media at a briefing held at Telkom’s headquarters in Centurion following ICASA’s call for comments on its proposed amendments to the call termination regulations.
ICASA proposed aggressive cuts to the wholesale tariffs network operators charge one another for connecting calls to each other’s networks.
The tariff Vodacom and MTN will be able to charge other networks will decrease from 13c to 9c. For Telkom and Cell C, the tariff will glide down from 19c to 13c.
For fixed telephone networks, where Telkom is still the dominant player, the tariff it is allowed to charge for terminating a call on its network will decline from 10c to 3c.
Small fixed-line players, such as VoIP providers, will be able to charge 4c for terminating a call on their network.
Fall by 70%
Telkom said this means ICASA has proposed that fixed termination rates should fall by 70%, compared with a reduction of only 31% in base mobile termination rates.
The “small” reduction in mobile rates represents a missed opportunity to reduce the cost to communicate for the majority of South African telecoms users and disproportionately targets Telkom, said Maseko.
“The proposed fixed termination rates require cost reductions that are not feasible within a three-year time frame without significant job losses and do not recognise that the telecoms landscape has changed to such an extent that there is one converged voice market, rather than separate fixed and mobile markets,” said Maseko.
“The lasting impact of these decisions could well be working against ICASA’s objectives to promote competition and continue to reduce the cost to communicate for South African telecoms users.”
“ICASA’s decision to reduce fixed termination rates at a faster pace than the reduction in mobile termination rates would entrench the duopoly of the largest mobile operators and reduce competition. It is also out of kilter with convergence in technology.