Telecoms News - In brief

Telecoms

* Cell C has made a pit stop in Polokwane in its race to hook up the country’s main towns and cities to its third-generation mobile network.Polokwane, the capital of Limpopo province, will have 67% network coverage for now, slightly lower than many of the other cities in which the company has launched its new network.
However, Cell C’s Head of Marketing, Simon Camerer, says the city will have 98% coverage by January next year.Residents of Polokwane, will receive average download speeds of between 6Mbit/s and 9Mbit/s.Gauteng residents will be hoping Pretoria and Johannesburg will be the next on Cell C’s list. Cell C CEO Lars Reichelt has said Gauteng should go live in mid-November. However, he has also said that the Gauteng roll-out has been more difficult than expected.

* An argument over whether South Africa’s telecommunications regulator has jurisdiction to rule in a dispute between Telkom and Vodacom, MTN and Cell C over interconnection fees, could spell bad news for the traditionally fixed-line operator. Telkom wants the mobile operators to pay it 93c/minute for calls it carries from them onto its new mobile network, 8ta. In turn, it wants to pay them the lower “termination rate” of 89c/minute (in peak times) and 77c/minute (off-peak) for calls in the other direction. The three incumbent operators are fighting tooth and nail to prevent the asymmetrical regime that Telkom wants imposed and has taken the matter to Icasa for resolution. Vodacom on Friday argued that the Icasa committee does not have the right to set an interconnection rate. It said the Electronic Communications Act only allows Icasa, as a full council, to make a decision on pricing. However, Telkom said the act fully empowered the committee to make a ruling on the matter. The committee was required to investigate and make an appropriate finding on an interconnection dispute if requested to do so by the Icasa council, it said.