Lower interconnect has benefits beyond just cheaper calls: Virgin Mobile

2014-03-27

Lower interconnect has benefits beyond just cheaper calls: Virgin Mobile

 
Johannesburg, 27 March 2014: Virgin Mobile has welcomed the strong stance adopted by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA), at the ongoing High Court hearings into mobile termination rates.
 
ICASA is defending its regulations – to be implemented next month – that reduces the wholesale rates operators charge each other when connecting calls between networks. For more than a decade, the entrenched players have used artificially high termination rates to create a hostile environment for new market entrants.
 
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Virgin Mobile SA, Anton Landman is of the view that  the new regulations will create a more competitive environment, and lower the costs that customers will pay for airtime – be it on a prepaid or contract basis. Furthermore  there are broader benefits likely to emanate from increased competition. These include better quality infrastructure, greater inclusion of customers in under-serviced areas, and lower mobile data costs (for evolved mobile platforms like 3G, HSPA and LTE).
 
“ICASA’s new regulations help to foster competition in South Africa and allow smaller operators to have a real impact in the lives of customers. Whatever brings about competition brings about better value for the consumer,” says Landman. “Virgin is known the world over for being a ‘challenger brand’ that shakes up the established players in various markets, and opens new horizons to customers. Given a fair market environment, this will now become possible in the South African cellular industry”, he explained.
 
The new interconnect rates fall squarely in line with Virgin Mobile’s refreshed strategy in the local market – which is centered on bringing simplicity, value, and quality to the customer.
 
Landman says everyone has a role to play in bringing down the costs of mobile voice and data in South Africa – from the regulator creating an enabling market environment, to the operators adjusting their business models, to the consumer who needs to play an active and vocal role.
 
“Customers need to challenge the status quo. They need to vote with their feet and actively find the best mobile deals that suit their needs,” Landman advises. 
 
The information centre at ICASA.org.za outlines the rights of every South African cellular subscriber - The High Court ruling is expected on Tuesday, April 2.