Icasa publishes draft call termination amendments for public comment

22nd March 2024

By: Natasha Odendaal

Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor


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The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) on Friday published the draft amendments to the Call Termination Regulations of 2014 and 2018.

Following a review in 2021, and the publication of the findings document in 2022, the amended regulations stipulate a further downward glide path for the wholesale voice call termination rates charged.

Stakeholders have until May 10 to provide input, according to the gazetted draft amendment to the Call Termination Regulations 2014, published on Friday.

The amendments will see operators with more than a 20% share of total minutes terminated in the wholesale voice market reduce the charges for call termination to a fixed location from the current 6c to 4c from July 1, 2024, and to 1c by July 1, 2025.

Call termination charges to a mobile location will be 7c from July 1, 2024, and 4c by July 1, 2025, down from the current 9c.

Smaller operators in the wholesale voice market will be required to reduce their fixed location charges from the current 6c to 4c from July 1, 2024; and to 1c from July 1, 2025, while the termination rates for new entrants will remain at 4c.

Charges for terminating a call at a mobile location will now be 9c from July 1, 2024, and 4c from July 1, 2025, from the current 13c, while these termination rates for new entrants will remain at 7c.

“The draft rates emanate from an intensive cost-modelling process involving the development of an iterative, multi-input, bottom-up cost model, accompanied by extensive engagement with the main voice operators,” said Icasa council committee chairperson councillor Nompucuko Nontombana, noting that the central feature of this cost model has been the adoption of a long-run incremental cost approach in line with global international good practice.

“The outcome of this consultative process has allowed the authority to deduce the appropriate cost levels of wholesale voice call termination services, and therefore to specify what operators should be able to charge.”

Another feature of the rates is the phasing out of asymmetry between what large and small mobile operators can charge, while new entrants into the voice services market will qualify for asymmetry for a limited period of three years after entry into the market.

This is in line with the decision set out in the authority’s 2022 Findings Document.

Further, all operators may charge reciprocal international termination rates for voice calls originating outside of South Africa; however, the international termination rates charged by an operator must not be less than the South Africa termination rates or higher than the termination rate charged by the respective international operator.

“In creating a more competitive and consumer-friendly telecommunications landscape, Icasa takes a significant stride with the publication of draft amendments to the Call Termination Regulations. By phasing out asymmetry and providing a transitionary period for new entrants, we aim to empower operators to adapt gradually, all while maximising benefits for consumers,” Nontombana continued.

“The authority is confident that these wholesale voice call termination rates will not only meet the objectives of the Electronic Communications Act, but also pave the way for a more dynamic and consumer-centric telecommunications market.”

Edited by Creamer Media Reporter



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