Call Termination Rates

Posted by LA Thornton on Wednesday, November 11, 2009
Wow, what a lot of noise about call termination rates!

Don't get me wrong, this noise is far better than the almost complete silence on the matter for the past decade.  My optimism says the mobile providers will reduce their call termination rates in accordance with the agreement announced by the Minister today.  Even greater optimism says that this will translate into a reduction in retail rates. 

However, this will not solve the real problems that exist.  ICASA needs to be able to regulate effectively.  Right now, the legislation is so confused, ICASA cannot even begin to make regulations and enforce them with regard to either wholesale or retail rates.

So, what needs to happen?

1. Parliament must amend the enabling legislation - The matter of regulating wholesale and retail rates must be separated, and all unnecessary obstacles to ICASA‚Äôs ability to regulate effectively must be removed. 
2. Icasa must make clear, enforceable regulations - There are some good things in existing drafts. However a careful re-drafting needs to take place, avoiding all matters of confusion.  Unless the regulations are watertight, water will squeeze through.
3. ICASA must enforce its regulations - ICASA must be given adequate resources to so this, both human (lawyers, economists, etc) and financial.

Pending these interventions, which, if they are going to happen at all, will take at least 18 months, the only real way to reduce call termination rates is to get the providers to agree.  Which leads me back to where I started.  I am optimistic that the agreement announced by the Minister today will hold until it can be implemented.

Tags: "interconnection"  "electronic communications act" 
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