Two announcements made last week set the pulses racing at telecoms operators in SA, and could have a long-term effect on consumers and their use of networks. The first was from the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), which has slashed mobile call termination rates — the fees operators charge each other to receive a voice call — and the second was cabinet’s approval of its latest version of what is known as a wholesale open-access network (Woan). The Woan plan, which has been mooted for years, is contained in the Electronic Communications Amendment Bill. The latest changes haven’t been published yet, but should come out this week or next. They will be based on a research study by the Council for Scientific & Industrial Research that has been kept secret since it was given to telecommunications & postal services minister Siyabonga Cwele late last year. The most controversial aspect is that the government plans to take back and manage all the spectrum it has already lic...

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