South African telecoms regulator the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has kicked off its planned review of the country’s call termination regulations, inviting all licensees to submit the requested information by 28 February. The watchdog last revised the termination rates – the fees companies charge each other to carry out calls between their networks – in 2014, though the process was marred by controversy, with the ICASA taken to court by market leaders Vodacom and MTN over its procedure to determine the rates in February 2014.
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in September 2014 the ICASA reviewed its proposed mobile termination rates (MTRs) for the period October 2014 to end-February 2018, following a Gauteng court ruling that the previous regulations were ‘unlawful and invalid’. Along with dramatically reducing the level of asymmetry for smaller players, the authority also suggested a new way of determining whether an operator may qualify for asymmetry – a company must have less than 20% of the share of total terminated minutes in either the fixed or mobile market in order to be considered for symmetry. Subsequently, in January 2015 smaller wireless operator Cell C lodged an application with the High court in Johannesburg requesting a review of the wholesale rates, though it dropped the legal challenge in March 2016, as ‘the length of time taken to get to court … has effectively made Cell C’s application redundant’.