2 March 2011
The Namibian Communications Commission`s issued a ruling for all licensees and providers of public mobile cellular services to implement a price cap for off-net call prices and call prices to fixed-lines to the level of their on-net prices with effect from the 1st March 2011. It further instructed that off-net prices and prices for calls to fixed-lines may no longer exceed those of on-net calls for each product or service.
Telecom Namibia has welcomed the intervention of the regulator as it ensures customer protection, fair competition among players and long term viability of the industry. High mobile cellular off-net charges have prevented customers from calling across networks, hence restraining competition.
However, the biggest winner in this new development is the customer who will enjoy the freedom to make calls, using any mobile cellular network in the country to make a call to another network, without fearing being charged more for calling outside the network of his/her service provider. It should be stressed that the price cap on off-net mobile cellular calls also applies to calls made by mobile phone users to fixed-lines.
While the ruling of the Namibian Communications Commission (NCC) is not applicable to fixed line originating calls, it has naturally affected all SWITCH voice plans, including text messaging services. In view of this, Telecom Namibia has taken steps to implement the NCC resolution as from the 1st March 2011, namely:
- All SWITCH postpaid and prepaid plans have been adjusted accordingly to fully comply with the NCC ruling.
- The special rate campaigns currently applicable to both SWITCH calls and short messaging services (SMSs) have been discontinued to allow for a seamless implementation of the NCC ruling.
The price cap on mobile off-net services is clearly much needed as there are some horrendous examples of ludicrous charges being slapped on users for making mobile cellular off-net calls, for the sake of unfair monopoly profits. The cap means this abuse of power will stop.
We are confident that the NCC ruling clearly lives up to the expectations of customers for affordable mobile cellular voice services.