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MTN, Vodacom prepare for battle with Icasa

The country’s two largest operators are trying to stop the regulator from decreasing termination rates.

FILE: Members of the Complaints Compliance Committee of Icasa are seen at the Icasa offices in Johannesburg on 12 November 2012. Picture: SAPA.

JOHANNESBURG - Cellphone operators are gearing up to go head-to-head in court with the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) over mobile termination rates.

The country's two largest operators, MTN and Vodacom, are set to take the regulator to task at the High Court in Johannesburg on Tuesday.

They launched the application in a bid to stop Icasa from decreasing fees which operators charge competitors to carry calls on their networks.

The new tariffs were scheduled to start on 1 April.

Both MTN and Vodacom previously warned the regulator about being overly aggressive in reducing rates.

Operators such as Cell C and Telkom Mobile will see rates decrease from 40 cents to 20 cents.

But the big networks will pay 44 cents per minute during calls to the smaller networks.

MTN's general manager for regulatory affairs Graham de Vries says, "Mobile termination rates or MTR's must be driven by a fair process, which includes basing termination rates on an appropriate costing study, to ensure that MTR's are reflective of the costs incurred by all players in the market."

Icasa plans to continue bringing down the rates over the next three years.

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