The Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) is pushing for an interconnect fee of 60c a minute, with a view to introducing it as early as next month.
Representatives from the telecommunication companies have agreed to finalise discussions about the rate within the next few days, and will meet again next Friday (23 October) to finalise proposals.
During a meeting with Icasa, the Internet Service Proviers Association (ISPA) and the telcos – Vodacom, MTN Cell C, Neotel and Telkom – they all agreed that the new pricing should be based on cost, with a mark-up of not more than 50%.
Meanwhile, Vodacom has lashed out at the proposed interconnect fee cuts, saying they could disrupt the economy.
In its submission to parliament – which is holding public hearings on the matter today and tomorrow – the cell phone giant says a reduced interconnect rate could have a negative impact on universal access and would be disrputive to the economy and the communications industry.
Currently, the dominant players in the market – Vodacom, MTN and Telkom – gain the most from interconnect fees, which add billions of rands to their revenues.