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ICASA urges operators to re-submit interconnection agreements

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Pieter Uys, Vodacom CEO

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says it has not heard from the country’s three mobile operators, following its refusal to review the interconnection rates among these companies.

“The Authority would like to inform all stakeholders that it has not received any submissions from Vodacom, MTN and Cell C following its refusal to review the interconnection amendment agreement last week.

“The proposed agreements sought to bind the Authority to an undertaking not to review mobile termination rates until 1 March 2013. The Authority rejected this pre-condition in toto”, said an official ICASA.

ICASA nonetheless welcomed the reductions in these rates.

“However, the Authority welcomes any reductions on call termination rates/interconnection rates as long as there are no pre-conditions attached that seek to compromise the role and mandate of the Authority as outlined in Section 39 of the Electronic Communications Act.

“As a result, the three mobile operators are welcome to revise and re-submit their interconnection agreements to the Authority. However, this will not stop the Authority from releasing draft regulations in March 2010”, he said.

Vodacom, Cell C and MTN recently agreed to lower the interconnection rates amongst them. This followed years of complaints that interconnection and call charges in South Africa were inflated and among the highest in the region.

Meanwhile, ICASA said it would also like to point out that there was no mention of the blended rate of 60 cents as suggested by Vodacom’s Chief Executive Officer, Pieter Uys, in a statement to the media.

by Tintswalo Baloyi

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