Cellular operators were set to receive a grilling in parliament this week. Politicians want mobile interconnection fees to come down. But it’s far from clear if the basic cost of calls will also fall. Can politicians avoid the temptation of interfering further?
A flurry of initiatives aimed at achieving a reduction in mobile termination rates will provide interesting sidesdows, but beneath the politics of the moment, the real action remains an intimate dance between the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) and the mobile networks. The initial mobile termination rate, also known as interconnection rate, of 20c/minute was set between Vodacom and MTN on 8 August 1994. This was amended on 28 May 1999, shortly after it was announced by government that a third mobile cellular telecommunications licence would be issued.