The debate over cellphone interconnection rates is only about how much they would be reduced and over what time period, national assembly communications committee chairman Ismail Vadi said on Tuesday.
Speaking at the start of two-days of public hearings on the issue, Vadi said by holding the hearings the committee was taking “an extraordinary step to deal with an extraordinary situation”. This was because the regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), had failed to deal with the matter, he said.
Even though Icasa might well have valid reasons for the delay in dealing with it, “that is immaterial”. He appealed to Icasa to get its house in order and get on with its work.
The committee had received more than 80 written submissions and about 22 of these would make oral presentations during the two days of hearings.All the submissions were agreed that “something has to be done” to reduce the excessive and exorbitant charges.
Vadi said the committee would deliberate on the way forward following the hearings, but legislative steps, if required, were not ruled out.
Among those expected to make oral presentations on Tuesday were Telkom, Vodacom and Neotel. — Sapa