MTN may take ICASA to court over USD0.25 interconnect fee

31 Mar 2015

South African mobile operator MTN has reportedly disclosed that it may take the country’s telecoms regulator, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), to court unless the watchdog reverses its decision to block the cellco from imposing higher interconnection fee on international inbound calls, TechCentral writes.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, last week ICASA ordered MTN to immediately cease collection of an USD0.25 per minute interconnect rate for internationally-originating voice traffic and to comply with the charging regime contained in the Call Termination Regulations (Government Gazette No. 38,042 of 30 September 2014). Following an investigation prompted by the Internet Service Providers’ Association (ISPA), ICASA highlighted that the current call termination regulations do not make a distinction between termination services for voice calls originating within and outside of the borders of South Africa. Thus, the authority claimed that ‘by charging a different rate or termination between licensed operators in the manner that it has, MTN is in breach of the non-discrimination principles as per section 37 (6) of the Electronic Communications Act’.

MTN South Africa’s CEO Ahmad Farroukh however pointed out that termination rates on international inbound calls need to be increased in order to address the ‘huge imbalance between what South Africa pays international operators and what South African operators receive in return.’ ‘ICASA is wrong when it states that the termination rate regulations refer to all calls, whether local or international’, the executive said, adding: ‘If it has to go to court, we will go to court.’