Communications regulator Icasa now intends introducing new regulations governing wholesale mobile call termination rates on 1 April, a month earlier than the date it communicated to the industry just last week.
The move means termination rates — the fees mobile operators charge each other to carry calls between their networks — will be cut in half, to 20c/minute, on 1 April.
Icasa had originally set 1 March as the implementation date, but last week said it would delay this until 1 May to allow it to respond to an urgent application brought by MTN at the high court in Johannesburg.
MTN wants implementation of the rates postponed until the courts are able to review the regulations.
“Icasa’s council initially decided that a delay of two months was needed,” the authority says in a statement. “After further consideration and consultation with legal counsel, Icasa’s council has decided that the commencement of the 2014 regulations need only be delayed by one month.”
It says it is in the public interest that MTN’s application for interim relief be resolved “as expeditiously as possible”.
“After studying the papers, the council of Icasa is also of the view that a delay of one month is sufficient to ensure that the affected parties have sufficient time to properly prepare their answering papers,” Icasa says.
“To this end, on 19 February 2014, Icasa published the call termination amendment regulations, 2014 which delay the commencement of the 2014 regulations by one month from 1 March 2014 to 1 April 2014 and extend the operation of the 2010 regulations by one month.” — (c) 2014 NewsCentral Media