1 minute read
2 Apr 2014
2:51 pm

Mobile services useless if expensive – USAASA

Mobile services are meaningless if they are not affordable, the USAASA said on Wednesday.

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“To attain the goals of universal access and service to ICT, the country needs to ensure that prices should be affordable,” Universal Services and Access Agency of SA spokesman Khulekani Ntshangase said.

Most people in the country could not afford to make voice calls due to the high cost, he said.

“South Africa remains among the highest [cost] countries in terms of communication.”

On Monday, the High Court in Johannesburg ruled that the Independent Communications Authority of SA’s (Icasa) proposed new call termination rates were invalid and unlawful. The court gave Icasa six months to amend its regulations.

MTN and Vodacom took Icasa to court to stop it from implementing a regulation on mobile termination rates. These are the rates operators pay one another for calls to other networks. The agency welcomed the court ruling.

Ntshangase said the ruling would ensure millions of South Africans had access to communication services. The agency called on Icasa to investigate lowering the cost of data.

“We are of the view that to move South Africa, all forms of communications must be affordable to all.”

Ntshangase said the agency would continue to subsidise the roll-out of broadband in rural and under-serviced areas to contribute to lower communication costs.

“We call upon operators to work with the us to achieve this goal of making ICT a basic human right.”