Tuesday, October 13, 2009

South Africa - Incumbent opposes reduction of interconnection rates to ZAR 0.60

[itweb] Telkom this morning had to fend off angry questions and comments from Members of Parliament who attacked its high interconnection, termination and line charge rates.

On the first day of the Parliamentary Portfolio Communications Committee hearings into interconnection rates, members of the telecommunications sector were packed in for the public hearings.

Parliament has asked for public comments on whether interconnection rates should fall from 125c per minute to 60c per minute, whether a staggered reduction in interconnection rates would be appropriate, and if retail rates should be regulated.

“With all your high charges, I have paid for your salaries several times over. I couldn't care if you went out of business today,” MP Niekie van den Berg told the Telkom delegation.

In response, Telkom SA MD Pinky Moholi said the company supported the reduction in interconnection rates and agreed they were too high.

“However, we cannot charge less than the prevailing rate of 125c per minute, otherwise we would go out of business,” she said.

Moholi went on to say line rental charges were there for the maintenance of the line and this is not a situation SA needs. She said that with copper cabling “...a truck had to roll every time there was a line break. That is why we welcome the ability for us to provide wireless networks. Wireless makes it cheaper for us because we do not have to send out a truck for maintenance.”

Telkom fends off Parliamentary anger - A 60c interconnection rate is not feasible, says Telkom, adding that it is committed to lowering rates

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