Extra charge for mobile calls: MWEB vs Telkom legal battle

MWEB is in a legal dispute with Telkom over Telkom’s decision to charge MWEB an additional transit fee for terminating calls on Telkom Mobile’s network. This followed unsuccessful attempts by MWEB to resolve the issue with Telkom directly.

MWEB and Telkom have an established interconnection agreement, dating back to 26 February 2007.

This agreement, MWEB said, means wholesale mobile voice calls must be terminated on Telkom Mobile’s network at standard wholesale termination rates – hence 44c per minute.

However, Telkom is charging MWEB an additional 6c per minute transit fee for conveyance of mobile calls from the fixed line network.

MWEB is therefore charged 50c per minute, instead of 44c per minute, to terminate a voice call on Telkom Mobile’s network.

To remove this transit fee, Telkom requires MWEB to establish an interconnection agreement directly with Telkom Mobile. This also requires additional equipment and networking costs, which MWEB argues is unnecessary and not required legally.

MWEB highlighted in legal documents that Telkom Mobile is not a separate legal entity or separate licensee from Telkom.

In terms of the Call Termination Regulations and Electronic Communications Act (ECA), MWEB argues, Telkom must provide it with mobile call termination at no additional charge.

According to legal documents, Telkom tried to justify the additional transit charge by arguing that Telkom Mobile is an “Other Licensed Operator (OLO)”.

However, because Telkom Mobile is not a separate entity from Telkom, it is not an OLO as initially claimed.

MWEB is seeking the following relief through its legal action:

  • Telkom must provide MWEB with mobile voice interconnection and termination without any additional charge.
  • Telkom must be prevented from charging MWEB a transit fee, or any other fee, for the conveyance of mobile calls from its fixed network to Telkom Mobile.
  • Telkom must repay all the “transit fees” it charged MWEB to terminate mobile calls on Telkom Mobile.

MWEB is also asking for Telkom to pay the cost of its legal application.

Telkom and MWEB respond

MWEB confirmed that it is currently in a dispute with Telkom regarding charging voice transit fees between their fixed and mobile networks, but would not comment further.

“This matter has been referred to the North Gauteng High Court,” MWEB said. “We would like to reserve comment at this stage, as the matter is sub judica.”

Telkom also confirmed that there us a legal dispute between them and MWEB about the transit fees to terminate mobile calls through its fixed network, but also opted not to comment.

“This matter is indeed the subject of a legal dispute and as such we are not in a position to deal with the substance of the matter through the media,” Telkom said.

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Extra charge for mobile calls: MWEB vs Telkom legal battle