South African regulator to host call termination rate hearings on June 13 to reduce charges

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June 4, 2024
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2 min read
ICASA

The news: 

  • The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), South Africa’s telecoms regulator, is set to host hybrid public hearings on June 13, 2024, to reduce the country's call termination rates. 
  • ICASA assures that these regulations are part of the broader measures to cut communication costs and will take effect on July 1, 2024. 
  • The development follows the regulator's initial action on March 22, 2024, when it published draft amendments to the Call Termination Regulations of 2014 and 2018 for public feedback. 

In a statement, the regulator stated that the proposed amendments are the penultimate step in a process that began in 2021 when the government decided to review all existing call termination rates. 

“These regulations are expected to make a substantial impact on the pricing structure of voice calls in South Africa, which remains an important segment of the market and which has an important role to play in reducing the cost to communicate,” ICASA stated. 

The draft regulations include significant reductions in wholesale voice call termination rates for small telcos and large network providers. The proposed rates for new companies have also been set. 

The regulator assured that the adjusted rates in the draft emerged after an intensive cost-modelling process that involved the development of an iterative, multi-input, bottom-up cost model. The main voice operators were also said to have been engaged extensively throughout the process.

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According to ICASA, the draft amendment regulations were published in the Government Gazette in March 2024, with the closing date for submissions set for May 10, 2024.  

Voice call termination describes the service that one network service provider offers another to relay voice traffic to its subscribers. 

The cost of call termination services has been a source of contention across the country, with many industry experts seeing it as a barrier to effective competition and the cause of South Africa's exorbitant telecom retail prices. 

During the hearings that will be held on June 13, 2024, the Internet Service Providers' Association and telcos in South Africa, including Telkom, Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Vox, are scheduled to present. 

The hybrid hearings will be hosted physically at the head office of ICASA at Eco Point Office Park, Centurion. And virtually on Microsoft Teams.

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The regulator also calls on the media, stakeholders, and members of the public to attend the public hearings.


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