South Africa’s mobile providers will make submissions to the country’s communications regulator today (February 7) regarding the review of contentious call termination regulations, which have been blamed for contributing to the country’s high voice call fees over the years.
Mobile termination rates are known as the fees that one provider charges another to complete outgoing calls on its network.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has suggested adjustments to mobile termination rates; however, some of the country’s mobile operators argue that the proposed changes will harm both them and their consumers.
ICASA advocated that asymmetric mobile termination rates (MTR) be phased out in favour of symmetric MTRs, that international termination rates be regulated, and that separate MTRs and Fixed Termination Rates be established to reflect the varying costs of termination on each type of network.
Telkom, Cell C, MTN, Switchtel (the VoIP provider), and Vodacom are among the companies who have made written submissions on ICASA’s discussion document to assess pro-competitive requirements stated in the Call Termination Regulation of 2014.
The cost of voice calls has decreased since 2014, according to ICASA Councillor Charley Lewis, benefiting both consumers and businesses. He claims that the discussions with the industry aim to assure “optimal voice market functioning.” However, some operators have expressed opposing views.
ICASA’s authority over international termination rates charged by operators in other jurisdictions has been questioned by Vodacom, the country’s largest mobile network provider.
Previous ICASA call termination guidelines for a mobile location announced in 2018 was US$0,0078 from October 2018 to September 2019, US$ 0,0065 from October 2019 to September 2020, and US$ 0,0058 from October 2020 onwards.