South Africa's communications minister Siphiwe Nyanda has revealed in a statement to parliament that an agreement had been reached with mobile operators Cell C, Vodacom and MTN to cut mobile termination rates (MTRs), lowering communication costs nationwide.
The three companies have been debating a reduction in MTRs; a state committee proposed that rates should be cut to ZAR0.60 (USD0.08) per minute during peak times and then by a further ZAR0.15 annually until 2012. Operators currently charge each other on average ZAR1.25 per minute during peak times.
However, operators opposed the cut, describing it as 'drastic' and 'below cost', and following further negotiation have agreed to implement a new payment structure, to be introduced in early 2010. Nyanda said: 'The agreed reduced MTRs are the following, peak ZAR0.89, off-peak ZAR0.77. We have therefore agreed with Vodacom and Cell C that the effective date for reduction would be February 2010. This excludes MTN who will implement on 1 March.'