Cell C drops MTR legal challenge

8 Mar 2016

South African wireless operator Cell C has withdrawn its legal challenge against regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) over the mobile termination rate (MTR) regulation introduced in 2014. Cell C said that its decision is ‘purely based on timing’, with the operator explaining: ‘The decision to withdraw follows a lengthy process of more than a year of obtaining the record from ICASA, finalising the papers in the review application and obtaining a court date for the hearing … The length of time it has taken to get to court, which is the unfortunate reality of litigating in South Africa, has effectively made Cell C’s application redundant.’ Cell C said that a successful ruling in its favour will have little practical effect as ICASA is due to start its review of the market in the next few months, which was what Cell C was seeking from the High Court.

As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in September 2014 ICASA revealed its final MTRs for the period 1 October 2014 to 30 September 2017, which give smaller players ‘slightly better asymmetry’, though Cell C expressed its disappointment with the regulator’s proposed termination rates and accused it of making ‘a dramatic U-turn’ by stating that ‘the massive proposed reduction in asymmetry completely eliminates any pro-competitive remedy.’ The cellco lodged an application with the High court in Johannesburg requesting a review of the wholesale rates in January 2015.