South African regulator ICASA has changed the date for introduction of new wholesale mobile termination rates (MTRs) yet again, after postponing the tariff implementation by two months, to 1 May 2014, last week. My Broadband reports that the watchdog has now decided to bring forward the rate cut date by a month, to 1 April.
‘After further consideration and consultation with [our] legal counsel, ICASA’s council has decided that the commencement of the 2014 regulations need only be delayed by one month’, the watchdog stated, adding: ‘The council of ICASA is also of the view that a delay of one month is sufficient to ensure that the affected parties have sufficient time to properly prepare their answering papers.’
As previously reported by TeleGeography’s CommsUpdate, in January 2014 ICASA announced higher asymmetry in MTRs, effective 1 March 2014. The new rules favour smaller network operators Cell C and Telkom Mobile. However, in February ICASA’s representative Nomvuyiso Batyi confirmed that MTN South Africa had sent a letter to the watchdog demanding the ‘immediate removal of recently published regulations’. Subsequently, on 17 February the regulator announced that the MTR cuts would be pushed back with two months, to 1 May, as the legal proceedings introduced by MTN South Africa are ‘complex’ and parties affected by the litigation are ‘afforded very little time to respond’.