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20 October 2017 14:22 (South Africa)

Vodacom gets its voice back, warns on interconnect cuts

SA’s cellphone operators have been acting like rabbits in the headlights during discussions on interconnect rates, but at least one has finally worked up the guts to fight back. Vodacom yesterday told Parliament’s committee on communications to watch out for unintended consequences in the rush to halve the rates operators charge each other to terminate phone calls. It’s not a moment too soon. On Tuesday communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda published an official directive on the matter, and on the weekend we learnt that he wants cuts implemented in November, even though that is logistically impossible. Vodacom pointed out that marginal users, who make few calls and are in themselves worthless to operators, are effectively subsidised by high interconnect rates. Want to see those (typically poor) users cut off from the networks? We didn’t think so.

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