Communications regulator Icasa has amended its call termination regulations — the rules that govern how much operators may charge each other to carry calls between their networks — following an outcry by Telkom and smaller industry players, including SwitchTel.
The final regulations, announced on Wednesday, will be introduced on 1 October.
They state that for operators with more than 20% share of total minutes terminated in the wholesale voice market, the rates for fixed-line termination will be 9c/minute in the first year, falling to 7c in October 2019 and 6c in October 2020. For operators with over 20% share in mobile, the numbers are 12c, 10c and 9c over the three-year glide-path period.
For operators with 20% or less share of total minutes terminated in the wholesale voice market, the rates for fixed-line termination will be 10c/minute, falling to 8c in October 2019 and 6c in October 2020. For mobile, the rates will be set at 18c/minute from next month, then 16c in October 2019 and finally 13c in October 2020.
The “asymmetry” between the rates — depending on the size of the operator — is meant to foster competition in the industry by giving a leg-up to smaller players.
In an earlier version of the regulations, published in draft form, Icasa had proposed that the rates be reduced on mobile and fixed lines to 12c/minute and 8c/minute respectively from October 2018. The draft called for them to be cut to 10c and 5c in October 2019 and to 9c and 3c from October 2020.
The draft also proposed asymmetry in mobile calls of 5c/minute from October 2018 to September 2020 and 4c/minute from October 2020 onward. Asymmetry for fixed services was proposed to be 1c from October 2018 to September 2020 and fall away completely from October 2020.
The draft regulations were blasted by Telkom CEO Sipho Maseko, who warned in an interview with TechCentral that they would lead to a jobs bloodbath at the company. He said the draft regulations appeared to “target” Telkom and give a softer ride to the industry’s biggest players, MTN and Vodacom. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media