Since the introduction of call termination rate regulations in March 2010, the effective cost per minute of prepaid mobile voice calls has fallen from R1,37 to R1,04, or 24%, according to the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa).
The telecommunications regulatory agency says consumers are paying less and have more options available in terms of packages and promotions.
Termination rates are the fees that operators charge one another to field calls over their networks. The rates have fallen dramatically in recent years and for mobile calls will drop to 40c/minute in March 2013 from R1,25/minute a few years ago.
Icasa says this drop “clearly demonstrates” that reducing termination rates has had direct benefits for consumers, particularly those who use prepaid services. As prepaid users outnumber contract users substantially, this means the majority of mobile phone users have felt the benefits.
The cost of a call for a consumer is not the advertised rate but rather a combination of what a user actually pays and free minutes received for recharging and other promotions, the authority says.
The introduction of single-rate mobile packages across SA’s networks in 2010, along with new tariff plans launched earlier this year and an increased range of products and benefits, has led to an “increasingly competitive retail market and lower retail prices”.
The effective tariff is calculated by comparing the total prepaid revenue to total prepaid minutes for a given period of time.
Icasa’s publication of the tariff information comes ahead of a presentation by its management team to the parliamentary portfolio committee on communications on Tuesday. — (c) 2012 NewsCentral Media