Happy times as mobile phone charges are slashed in Botswana


Telephone calls (mobile and landline) and Internet access are set to radically decrease. This comes after the regulator, Botswana Telecommunications Authority (BTA) ordered telecoms companies, among them Botswana Telecommunications Corporation, Mascom, Orange and Be Mobile to reduce their tariffs with immediate effect. Some calls might be cut by up to 40 per cent. Furthermore, a number of charges across all communication services from international calls to bandwidth, will go down.

In a statement released last week BTA explained that termination rates will be reduced by 30 thebe. Currently the companies charge up to 75 thebe, which is passed to the customer. This will be cut to 45 thebe, a reduction that will set prices for calls between networks radically reduced, to reflect the true picture of the costs incurred to run such calls.

The new call cost regime comes in place as a result of, a 2010 study on the costing of calls commissioned by BTA which concluded that a reduction should be implemented. While some reductions will be immediate, some will come in gradually starting from 1st April. Fixed line termination rates will increase only marginally, by 1 thebe annually
Furthermore Internet access charges will be slashed by up to 17 per cent in some instances. "Wholesale Asymmetric Digital Subscriber Line (ADSL) prices will be revised downwards to align them to cost and make ADSL more affordable.  The weighted average reduction on wholesale ADSL prices for bandwidths of 512kbit/s, 1Mbit/s and 2Mbit/s is 17 per cent.

The new Internet rates, the authority says, are a result of Botswana Government's investment in EASSy which launched late last year.