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SA cellphone charges among world's highest

By Thabo Mokone | Nov 30, 2012 | COMMENTS [ 21 ]

Government is considering the introduction of "a flat rate regime" for cellphone calls

THE telecoms regulator, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa wants the Electronic Communications Act to be amended to allow the government to set cellphone tariffs.

In a move that is expected to be met with stiff resistance from the cellphone industry, Themba Phiri, deputy director-general in the Department of Communications, told Parliament, which is holding hearings into the high cost of telecommunications tariffs in South Africa, that the government was considering the introduction of "a flat rate regime" for cellphone calls.

Phiri said cellphone call charges in South Africa were very high, compared to other countries in the world. This is despite the intervention of former communication minister Siphiwe Nyanda in 2010 to reduce the cost of making cellphone calls.

"The amendment to the (Act) in addressing matters which hinder competition and other related matters needs to observed ... the imposition of a flat rate on mobile voice calls in SA needs to be studied to determine its relevance in today's market ... regulation of transparency in the pricing and the publication of mobile retail prices is a very important policy issue," said Phiri.

Nyanda's intervention reduced cellphone termination rates from R2.50 to 89c a minute in 2010, and this was expected to drop further in March next year to 40c a minute.

Cellphone termination rates is what mobile operators charge consumers to carry calls between different networks.

Phiri said despite this, the cost of making cellphone calls remained "very high". Vodacom and MTN account for highest package price of between R2.50 and R2.58 a minute to make a call.

COMMENTS [ 21 ]

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Is the ANC going to start its own cellphone network provider? :P

Nov 30, 2012 7:14 | 0 replies

It's hard to depard with profit once you make 150% profit you can never go back.

Nov 30, 2012 10:31 | 0 replies

This first came into light in 2010 as the story suggests, and they where told to bring down the tarrifs but alas. You know what they did, they just donated money to the ANC and all was forgotten,. Just like banks who charge us an arm and a leg, they also donate money to the banks, hence when Mamphela Ramphele raised this, her contract was not renewed.

Nov 30, 2012 10:44 | 0 replies

If broke and fake south africans can buy a phone worth 10 000 what about airtime, we dont feel a bite, public phones are all over the place or telkom ones. we must admit we re fake

Nov 30, 2012 11:11 | 0 replies

I call SA from South Sudan and I dont feel a bite. It is cheaper than making a local call in SA

Nov 30, 2012 12:29 | 0 replies

@#Sinudeity#!
Is the ANC going to start its own cellphone network provider?
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What are you up to now Sin?

Nov 30, 2012 12:55 | 0 replies

We had the same problem here in Europe, but the EU forced mobile phone companies to cut their rates by 50%. SA Govt is dutybound to end this exploitation, because the poorest (on PAYG) pay higher premiums than those on contracts

Nov 30, 2012 2:15 | 0 replies

When I think about it.... What is airtime? It does not even exist in reality. Can you see it? Can you touch it? We pay for connections from one cell mast to another. There is no such thing as airtime. Yet you can't rollover unused airtime or "data bundles", which does not exist, to another month. Fantastic. So you can't rollover something which does not exist. Vodacom and MTN are bending us over and giving us a ride on their magic wagon.

Dec 01, 2012 10:52 | 0 replies

Governments job is to see that there is no unfair competition. Collusion between cell networks (which we all suspect) must be stopped. Investigate and doll out some hefty fines where monopolistic behaviour is found - as they did with the bread price fixing thieves.

Dec 01, 2012 11:5 | 0 replies

THE telecoms regulator, Independent Communications Authority of South Africa wants the Electronic Communications Act to be amended to allow the government to set cellphone tariffs.
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When since they've been singing this song years now.

Nov 30, 2012 9:32 | 0 replies

I always wonder why the government doesn't take any action against service providers for outrageous charges. I use to pay 15 cent a minute while i was abroad, landlines are far cheaper than here. Something has to be done with this providers.

Nov 30, 2012 9:23 | 0 replies