The increase in tariffs by one of South Africa’s giant mobile network providers MTN has prompted the country’s communications regulator Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to chip it following a public outcry. MTN was ordered by Icasa to immediately cease collection of $0.25 per minute from local interconnecting partners.
The regulator ordered MTN to immediately cease collecting $0.25 (around R3.00) per minute for internationally originated voice traffic. On 22 October 2014 MTN issued a notice to all its interconnecting partners about its international interconnection rates.
The notice stated that all international originated voice traffic destined for the MTN network will be charged a 0.25USD/minute or equivalent thereof in South African Rand (ZAR) or any other foreign currency as termination rate as of 1 November 2014.
Icasa on MTN
Part of the notice said that internationally originated voice calls transiting on MTN’s network to other South Africa networks will be charged at 0.25USD/minute or equivalent thereof in South African Rand (ZAR) or any other foreign currency as termination rate as of 1 November 2014.
The notice was met with mixed feelings such that members of the Internet Service Providers’ Association (Ispa) filed a complaint with Icasa, demanding r clarity on the issue.
Icasa responded citing that the current Call Termination Regulations make no difference between termination services for voice calls originating within and outside of the borders of South Africa.
The response cited that the service offered by MTN to other licensed operators constitutes termination services as defined in terms of the regulations.
By charging a different rate for termination between licensed operators in the manner that it has, Icasa said, MTN is in breach of the non-discrimination principles as per section 37 (6) of the Electronic Communications Act.
Icasa directed MTN to stop collecting $0.25 from local interconnecting partners.
It also directed MTN to observe with the charging regime contained in the Call Termination Regulations, 2014, as reflected in the interconnection agreements.