MTN, Vodacom will not appeal MTRs ruling

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By Segun Oniyide

mtn-nigeria-600x315Leading South African operators MTN and Vodacom will not appeal the court decision allowing the temporary implementation of “invalid and unlawful” mobile termination rates (MTRs), the companies said.

The High Court in South Gauteng ruled in favour of legal claims by Vodacom and MTN that the new MTR regulations published by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) are “invalid and unlawful” – the regulator having failed to follow statutory procedural requirements in constructing the regulations.

However, exercising the court’s discretion in the public effort, the judge ruled the regulations – which cut MTRs by 50 per cent and impose asymmetric billing to the detriment of the larger operators – would be implemented on April 1 for a period of six months pending review of the regulations by ICASA and the drawing up of properly researched regulations.

Vodacom said the implementation of the new regulations would cost it approximately ZAR1 billion (US$94 million) over the space of a year, potentially jeopardising network.

Nonetheless, a Vodacom spokesperson told HumanIPO the operator has no plans to appeal the court decision, but is ready to collaborate with ICASA on the formulation of new rules.

We are keen to work with ICASA on the costing model. So far we’ve not been approached to provide any cost information,” Vodacom’s spokesperson said.

MTN also told HumanIPO it will not appeal, emphasising the company is happy to work with the regulator as long as due process is followed this time.

No, MTN will not appeal the court ruling,” Zunaid Bulbulia, chief executive officer (CEO) of MTN South Africa, said.

MTN has implemented the mobile termination rates as per the court ruling and shall work with the regulator in a constructive and consultative manner in any process underpinned by objective principles.”

ICASA has not yet responded for clarification as to the current situation.

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