Tanzania regulator seeks 69 percent interconnection rate decrease
In a move that has recieved widespread praise, Tanzania’s telecom regulator is seeking to decrease interconnection charges in the country as part of an effort to boost mobile phone use among users.
According to the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), it has proposed a 69 percent decrease in interconnection fees.
The move is aimed at creating the means for users of mobile phones to have been access and cheaper rates when calling users on different networks in the East African country.
Local reports in the country indicate that the regulator wants the new rates to be in place by March 1 as a way of boosting voice calls in the country.
Despite the regulator’s intention, mobile operators in the country are not backing the reductions fully, asking for the decrease to not be as much as the TCRA is demanding.
Operators want a higher rate of TZS 84, and according to a report in Daily News, “the 69 percent decrease proposed by the TCRA for the first year on a cost-based model was too high.”
Airtel Legal Officer Clara Mramba said the regulator “should have considered the operational costs incurred by telecommunications companies when reviewing the interconnection charges.”
But the TCRA is adamant. Director Victor Nkya argued that the proposal “was a result of a study conducted by an independent consultant, Pricewaterhouse Coopers.”
The consultant recommended the rate should eventually reach TZS 26.96 in 2017, the report suggested.
Acting Assistant Director of Telecommunications at the Ministry of Communication, Science and Technology Samson John said the “interconnection cost model was aimed at reducing costs to consumers.”
It is unclear if the government will approve the massive decrease, and analysts tell Bikyanews.com that the move is likely to be well-received by users, who have complained of high costs of making voice calls in recent months.