In its drive to make telecommunications more affordable and accessible, Telkom has planned overall price reductions from 1 August this year. The telecommunications giant is waiting for word from the Independent Communication Authority of South Africa (ICASA), on whether these proposed price-cuts will be approved. "We are reducing our prices again in line with our overall drive to defend and grow our revenues.

"The proposed price reductions will not only ensure more savings for our existing customers but will also attract new entrants to the broadband experience," Reuben September, Telkom's Acting Chief Executive Officer said in a statement Wednesday.

The regulatory formula allows Telkom to file a change in the basket of products of 8.7 percent. Therefore, Telkom could have increased its prices by 8.7 percent but instead is filing for an overall price decrease of 1.2 percent.

"That we have kept our increases well within these limits and have filed for an overall price decrease of 1.2 percent on our basket services, clearly demonstrates our on-going commitment to our customers," said September. "In addition, it reflects our determination to make telecommunications more affordable and accessible."

"While the net impact of the proposed prices will vary among customers the overall effect will be a reduction in the cost of telecommunications in South Africa." The minimum charge for local calls remains unchanged at 59.4 cents, including VAT, as does the per minute rate of 38 cents, including VAT, with a small increase in the Callmore rate (from 16c to 17c per minute, including VAT).

Calls to neighbouring countries see an average decrease of 15 percent during peak times and 19 percent during Global off-peak times. Further good news is the 10 percent decrease in long distance call charges - 65c per minute, including VAT, during Standard Time and 32.5c per minute, including VAT, during Callmore Time - and a 9 percent average reduction in International calls.

Those with family or business ties in the UK and USA others, will especially benefit, with calls costing 95c and 85c, including VAT, during Global Peak times and Global Off-peak Times respectively. The main beneficiaries of the proposed price changes will be DSL users. They will enjoy an average reduction of 18.2 percent and in the entry level (up to 384 Kbps Access) of 38 percent.

The new broadband offering - the entry level Do Broadband - which combines DSL 384 Kbps access and the Internet Service Provider (ISP) - has also been cut and will cost R199 per month, including VAT, (a 29 percent reduction). "For the past five years we have been aligning our prices to be more competitive, and in line with international standards and related cost," said September.