[15 March 2019] Below is a link to ICASA’s latest presentation in Parliament on its progress in lowering the cost to communicate:

ICASA Presentation on Cost to Communicate 26 February 2019

There are currently four central components to ICASA’s efforts:

  • Reductions to call termination rates: new glide path into effect from 1 October 2018, valid for the next three years. These rates have declined – in respect of mobile calls to Vodacom and MTN – from R1.25 ex VAT per minute in 2006 to R0.12 ex VAT per minute in 2018. This has undoubtedly reduced the price of voice calls in South Africa and curbed anti-competitive conduct, but it is doubtful as to whether there is much utility left in repeating this exercise in 2021.
  • Amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations: finalised and to be fully implemented by 12 April 2019. Curbing the excesses of the mobile networks in respect of out-of-bundle charges is one of the most useful things ICASA has ever done.
  • The market prioritisation process completed last year which had identified three markets which ICASA was signalling to industry it was looking at investigating.
  • The review of competition in the markets for wholesale and retail broadband services instituted by ICASA under Chapter 10 of the ECA and the complementary process being undertaken by the Competition Commission. ICASA noted that they had recently reviewed the memorandum of understanding between itself and the Commission to ensure there was close and constructive interaction regarding their respective investigations into these markets.

[3 December 2018] ICASA presented on its cost to communicate program on 26 November 2018.

ICASA Presentation Cost to Communicate 26 November 2018


[8 April 2018] The Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises (National Council of Provinces) hosted a stakeholder briefing on reducing the cost to communicate on 27 March 2018.  Presentations were received from ICASA, Telkom, MTN and Cell C.




Cell C


[16 August 2017] ICASA presented on its cost to communicate program to a Select Committee on Communications and Public Enterprises on 2 August 2017.


ICASA Presentation Cost to Communicate 2 August 2017

Narrative to ICASA Cost to Communicate Presentation 2 August 2017


[12 February 2014] ICASA presented an update on its Cost to Communicate programme to the Portfolio Committee on Communications on 11 February 2014.  The focus of the presentation and subsequent discussion was on call termination rates and the recently gazetted Call Termination Regulations 2014.

See http://www.techcentral.co.za/icasa-bracing-for-battle-with-vodacom-mtn/46366/ for further information.

ICASA presentation 10022014

Department of Communications Presentation Cost to Communicate 07 Feb 2014 final


[17 July 2013] Timelines in the relevant tables below have been amended to reflect the extensions granted by ICASA in respect of the dates for submission of the Broadband Value Chain Study and Call Termination Market Review questionnaires.


[17 June 2013] On 4 June 2013 ICASA published a notice of its intention to implement a two-year “Cost to Communicate Programme” with the overall goal of achieving “fair and reasonable prices for products and services” offered by electronic communications licensees.

ICASA intention to implement cost to communicate programme

The Cost to Communicate Programme specifies five projects expected to be completed by June 2015 and services as formal notice from ICASA of its intention to carry these projects out:

  • A broadband value chain analysis
  • Review of the market for call termination services
  • Local Loop Unbundling (LLU)
  • ICT indicators
  • Finalisation of the review of the market for wholesale transmission services for Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT)

Aside from these specific projects ICASA also wishes to:

  • Stimulate public debate around the cost to communicate in South Africa
  • Establish regulatory needs to address the cost to communicate in South Africa.
  • Stimulate enhanced competition in the telecommunications sector which should result in:
    • Increased consumer choice
    • Enhanced ability to switch suppliers
    • Increased transparency in product pricing offers (which currently are regarded as being generally opaque)
    • Fair and reasonable wholesale and retail

The notice provides a basis for the statement that the current cost to communicate in South Africa is too high by citing reports from the World Economic Forum, Research ICT Africa and others which show the high cost of mobile tariffs in South Africa relative to its regional, continental and global peers.


Broadband Value Chain Analysis

The intention here is to examine all possible facilities and services relating to electronic communications networks and services to look for evidence of ineffective competition and/or market failure and the need for pro-competitive interventions under the Electronic Communications Act.

ICASA anticipates completing this analysis within 9 months (i.e. by March 2014) in keeping with following timelines:


Project Timelines

Implementation Period

Request For Information

14 June 2013 -29 July 2013

Release Discussion Document public comment

19 August 2013

Public Hearing

5 September 2013

Publish Findings Document

1 November 2013

Release Draft Regulations for public comment

10 December 20

Publish Final Regulations

14 April 2014

Call Termination Market Review

ICASA intends to review the Call Termination Regulations 2010 which implemented a glide path for the reduction of mobile and fixed termination rates and imposed additional pro-competitive obligations on Telkom, Vodacom and MTN. This is based on their view that even after the completion of the current glide path, termination rates remain a constraint to effective competition as well as a driver of high retail prices of telecommunications in South Africa.

The review will be limited to reviewing the existing set of pro-competitive conditions: it will not seek to review either the market definitions or SMP determinations, as these will not have changed.

Project Timelines

Implementation Period

Request For Information

10 June 2013

One-on-One engagement with Licensees

1 to 12 July 2013

Receipt of written responses from licensees

2 August 2013

Publication of discussion document

9 August 2013

Public Hearings

2-3 September 2013

Publish Final Call Termination Regulations

25 October 2013


Local Loop Unbundling

LLU has been on the agenda for more than 5 years: ICASA has taken this opportunity to clarify its position on unbundling the local loop:

  • They are awaiting the finalisation of the dispute between Neotel and Telkom which arose after Neotel made a request for access to specific parts of Telkom’s copper network under the Facilities Leasing Regulations 2010. After Telkom refused this request the Complaints and Compliance Committee ruled in favour of Neotel and this decision is now in the process of being reviewed.
  • In the interim ICASA will publish draft regulations for public comment on the manner in which copper local loops shall be unbundled in South Africa. These regulations will not be finalised until the Neotel / Telkom dispute review has been completed.


ICT Indicators

ICASA has stated boldly that it intends to address information asymmetries between itself and industry so as to improve planning for policy and regulation. This information can also be used to benchmark South Africa against its peers in respect of communication cost and quality and is required to be submitted to the ITU.

ICASA will also request any other information relevant to identified initiatives, and will The Authority will clearly communicate the information required and the purpose of such information as and when required.

The notice sets out the legal basis on which ICASA can make information requests and the procedure for claiming confidentiality in information provided. Information will generally be collected through online questionnaires although one-on-one interviews may also be required. Information collected will be reflected on the online ICT Indicators portal which ICASA is developing (it was launched in March 2013 – http://ictindicatorportal.icasa.org.za/Portal/index.php?p=24 (website now defunct) .


Digital Terrestrial Television (DTT) Rate Card – Broadcasting Wholesale Transmission Services

An inquiry into the provision of wholesale broadcasting transmission services was undertaken in response to complaints by a free-to-air television broadcaster and a number of community radio broadcasters regarding alleged excessive pricing and low quality of service standards by Sentech Limited (“Sentech”).

A Findings Paper was published on 7 June 2013 and ICASA will now proceed to draft and publish for comment regulations around appropriate pro-competitive conditions on licensees found to have Significant Market Power.