ICASA holds public hearings on call termination rules
Public hearings are underway in South Africa today as the regulator garners industry feedback on its call termination regulations implemented in 2014.
The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) said its decision to hold a consultation followed the responses to its Discussion Document, published in November 2021.
Announcing today's hearings on Friday, ICASA Councillor, Dr Charley Lewis saisd: “We have gone through all submissions and have decided to engage further through public hearings. The intention is to interrogate the submissions so that we can have a clearer and deeper understanding of the views expressed by stakeholders. It is important to have a holistic view of all comments, and to engage with concrete and specific proposals on the key issues, so that we may arrive at informed, evidence-based decisions.”
The changes to call termination charges were first introduced in 2014, shortly after which MTN said it would begin legal processes against the regulator. A review was conducted in 2017 then, in May of last year, ICASA said it would review "the procompetitive conditions" it had imposed and published a questionnaire survey to capture responses.
Stakeholder workshops commenced in June and a virtual hearing is being held today.
In response to its discussion document, ICASA received seven submissions from MTN, Cell C, Vodacom, Telkom, Switch Telecom, ISP dispute body ISPA and independent telecommunications policy analyst Ewan Sutherland. They can be viewed here.
Lewis added: “The interventions by ICASA in respect of call termination over the past eight years have been shown to have made a substantial impact: The price of voice calls has tumbled since 2014, and affordability conversely has jumped, benefitting both consumers and businesses. We continue to regulate in the public interest, hence, it remains important to continue to engage in this important area of the ICT environment in order to ensure optimal functioning of the voice market for the benefit of both industry and consumers.”
The hearings are being held virtually and commenced at 08:15 local time, today.