S.Africa telecoms regulator may reconsider mobile rate cut proposal

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“In this case, we may review 2015 and 2016 mainly in trying to avert a very lengthy legal challenge. We will be re-consulting for those years,” Paseka Maleka, a spokesman for the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa, said.

(READ MORE: MTN to take ICASA to court over rate cuts)

Mobile operators MTN and Vodacom have asked a Johannesburg court to halt plans by ICASA to halve the fees operators charge competitors to carry calls on their networks.

In February ICASA announced it would halve the rate a company can charge rivals for using its mobile network to 20 South African cents per minute per call from March 1.

(READ MORE: ICASA’s review of termination rates to benefit smaller telecoms players)

It also proposed a further reduction to 15 cents by 2015 before settling at 10 cents by March 2016.

ICASA subsequently changed the starting date to April 1, mainly due to the court challenge by mobile operators who fear revenues streams will be curtailed.

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Vodacom estimated revenue loss at 1 billion rand in the next financial year, while its larger rival MTN Group is expected to fare better given its diverse geographic base and customer profile.