Consumers in Africa call for cheaper mobile calls

Posted on August 3, 2014 09:55 am

Africa Union backed competition watchdog has put forward a number of proposals to cut the cost of mobile phone calls and text messages in order to bring them in line with international equivalents.As part of its inquiry into pricing the declared mobile terminating access service, the African Competition and Consumer body has released a discussion paper outlining a number of ways to reduce the cost of calls and texts.The mobile terminating access services inquiry most recently saw the watchdog propose to regulate fees charged by network operators to receive and terminate SMS services on their networks for the first time, after finding commercial negotiations had failed to lower high SMS rates.The mobile termination access service is the wholesale agreement telecommunications companies offer each other to connect calls between different networks.

It previously did not include SMS messaging, rates for which have instead been set by commercial agreements.The continental body intervened after several consumer bodies from different African countries lodged a complain and is now looking for feedback on how the services for SMS and voice call terminations should be priced.It said Africa’s mobile voice termination call cost of higher a minute compared to the Europe and other countries around the world. It proposed introducing standard pricing for calls regardless of whether the call landed or originated from a mobile or landline, and bringing fees in line with international equivalents.The continental body also suggested call and text message termination rates be set at the same price.As a result, the regulated prices for mobile voice and SMS termination would likely fall below current regulated and commercial rates, the regulator said.The continental body will issue a proposed pricing model later this year and expects to make a final decision on the in the next two years.

Contador Harrison