South Africa's telecommunications companies have agreed to reduce their interconnect rates, which should result in lower call charges for local users.

Yesterday, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) met with the Internet and cellular providers to discuss the controversial interconnect rate. Icasa had earlier disclosed that it could not regulate this rate, but yesterday's mediation with the network providers seems to have borne fruit.
The interconnect rates at the charges that networks pass on to one another for calls carried or terminated on one another's networks.
Icasa discussed the issue with Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, Telkom and Neotel as well as with represetatives of the Internet Service Providers Association (ISPA).
The parties have agreed to start the process or reducing termination rates, overseen by Icasa.
The operators hope to conclude negotiations between themselves by December and the new rates should be implemented by February 2010.
This process will take place within the framework of the competition law.