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DOC orders gazetted

The Department of Communications (DOC) policy direction which intends to lower the cost of termination rates between mobile operators has been gazetted.

DOC director-general Mamodupi Mohlala says the department will inform the Parliamentary Portfolio Committee on Communications today that the policy direction is now available for the proper processing.

The DOC has taken a firm hand with the Independent Communications Authority of SA (ICASA) and the mobile operators, after an agreement on how to drop termination rates could not be reached. Under the communication minister's signature, the policy calls on ICASA to, “lower the interconnection rates, specifically the mobile termination rate to a cost-based rate”.

While the directive will still have to pass through the parliamentary process, it is likely the regulator will have to take the direction seriously, as the consumer and media pressure continues to mount.

The DG also wants to get a council up and running to oversee tariff changes before they reach the regulator, which she believes will complement the lowering of interconnect rates, providing a translation of cost reductions to the consumer.

The department hopes to drop the cost of communications as quickly as possible. It also wants to make sure mobile TV solutions are available to South Africans at a reasonable rate by next year.

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