Telecommunications companies will have more time to submit information about the high cost of communications, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa said on Wednesday.
Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said the broadband value chain study deadline had been extended until 29 July and the call termination market review until 2 August.
He said the extensions to submit completed questionnaires would probably not affect the timelines of the overall programme at this stage.
The programme, which consists of five projects, aimed to stimulate public debate and establish regulatory needs regarding communications costs.
The outcome was to stimulate enhanced competition in the sector, resulting in increased consumer choice, enhanced ability to switch suppliers, increased pricing transparency, and fair and reasonable wholesale and retail prices.
The World Economic Forum recently issued its Global IT Report for 2013, ranking South Africa 117th out of 140 countries for mobile cellular tariffs.
The programme would review the regulations for voice call termination. This is the service one network offers another to carry voice traffic to its end users. Icasa said this service charge had been viewed as a constraint to effective competition and a driver of high retail prices.
Local-loop unbundling regulations were also in the spotlight. The local loop is the connection between a home or building and the local exchange of a fixed-line network. Icasa was to have published draft regulations for local-loop unbundling on Tuesday.
Maleka said this process had taken longer than expected and the future publication date would be known within the next week.
According to Icasa’s website, the programme’s overall discussion document would be made available for public comment on 19 August.
Public hearings were expected to be held on 5 September and a findings document published on 1 November.
Draft regulations would be published on 10 December. Final regulations were expected to be published next April. — Sapa