The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (“ICASA/the Authority”) has published its findings following the conclusion on the ongoing regulatory process for the review of the pro-competitive conditions imposed on relevant licensees in terms of the Call Termination Regulations of 2014.
The findings are a culmination of the consultative process the Authority embarked upon through the publication of the Discussion Document in November 2021 – to solicit representations from all the relevant stakeholders for the purpose of reviewing the pro-competitive licensing terms and conditions imposed by the Call Termination Regulations in 2014.
The Authority’s findings in respect of this process include but are not limited to the following:
- The relevant markets are Mobile and Fixed termination markets (including termination of voice calls originating outside of South Africa).
- Each individual licensee that offers wholesale voice call termination services in South Africa has 100% market share in respect of voice calls terminating on its network and has Significant Market Power.
- Neither retail nor wholesale constraints are likely to be effective in preventing a wholesale voice call termination services provider (mobile or fixed) from setting termination rates above competitive levels in the absence of a regulatory intervention.
- The Authority has determined to retain the following pro-competitive licence terms and conditions to address market failures in the relevant markets:
- Licensees must charge cost-based pricing,
- Licensees must publish a reference interconnection offer.
Furthermore, mobile termination rates will move to symmetry within a transitional period of twelve months, while new licensees will qualify for asymmetry for a limited period of three years after entry into the market.
Among other matters consulted upon in the Discussion Document was the international termination rate, which has been a bone of contention for consumers and business for a long while.
“With regards to this matter, the findings are that local licensees must charge reciprocal international termination rates for voice calls originating outside of South Africa. The international termination rates charged by local licensees may not be less than the domestic regulated termination rate or higher than the international termination rate offered by their counterpart – meaning that the difference between domestic termination rates and international termination rates must be fair and reasonable.”Dr Charley Lewis, Councillor, ICASA
The Authority has committed to publishing a notice of intention to initiate the next phase of the process – the public consultation on cost modelling to determine the efficient cost of providing wholesale voice call termination services.