Regulator postpones public debate on interconnection rates

8 Jan 2013

National watchdog the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA) has postponed a series of public discussions it intends to hold on cost-based interconnection rates for telecoms network operators in the country, to give those involved more time to consider the implications of such a move. The Daily News quotes TCRA director Prof John Nkoma as announcing the postponement, noting that the talks will now begin in February 2013, not this month as originally intended.

Earlier, the TCRA announced its intention to carry out a study into the cost-based interconnection rates levied by domestic telecoms network operators and asked them to submit their view by the middle of January 2013. However, Prof Nkoma now concedes that more time is needed to allow some of them – Airtel Tanzania, Benson Informatics Limited (BOL), Dovetel, MIC Tanzania and Six Telecoms Company – to comply with this request. The other two companies concerned are Tanzania Telecommunications Company Limited (TTCL) and Zanzibar Telecom Limited (Zantel).

Under the TCRA’s proposals, the glide path for interconnection rate ceilings (effective 1 March 2013 – 31 December 2017) will be:

~ TZS34.92 (USD0.022) voice call termination rate (1 March – 31 December 2013)

~ TZS32.40 voice call termination rate (effective 1 January 2014)

~ TZS30.58 voice call termination rate (effective 1 January 2015)

~ TZS28.57 voice call termination rate (effective 1 January 2016)

~ TZS26.96 voice call termination rate (effective 1 January 2017).

According to TeleGeography’s GlobalComms Database, the Tanzania Communications (Interconnection) Regulations are applicable to all network service providers wishing to terminate traffic onto operators’ networks. Under local rules, interconnect agreements are required to be transparent and non-discriminatory; must be formulated on cost-based interconnection charges; and must provide an adequate level of quality of service. In December 2007 the TCRA published its determination on the Review of Telecommunications Network Interconnection Rates, to establish cost-based interconnection rates among the network operators active in the Republic. The study used the Forward Looking Long Run Incremental Cost study methodology (FL-LRIC) and submitted its determination (known as Determination No.2, 2007) on new cost based interconnection rates for voice call termination, effective from 1 January 2008. The edict replaces Determination No. 1 of 2004, as reviewed in March 2006 on cost based interconnection rates for fixed and mobile telecommunication networks. The glide path for cost-based interconnection rates, effective 1 January 2008 to 31 December 2012, set the interconnection rate at TZS97.00 for the first year. All operators were required to enter into new interconnection agreements and submit the same to the TCRA by 31 January 2008.