May 25, 2018 / 11:33 AM / a year ago

Botswana court backs regulator's push for lower mobile call rates

GABORONE, May 25 (Reuters) - Botswana’s telecoms regulator said on Friday its order that mobile phone companies cut fees they charge rivals to use their network by 41 percent has been endorsed by a local court.

The ruling comes after Mascom, the country’s biggest telecoms company, filed a court application last July seeking to have the Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority’s (BOCRA) directive declared illegal, improper and irrational.

Mascom is one of three companies offering mobile phone services in Botswana, alongside Botswana Telecommunications Corp and Orange Botswana.

“The judge ... applauded BOCRA for putting the interests of consumers above itself as an organisation and pursuing its mandate as a regulator,” BOCRA said in a statement.

BOCRA argues there is no reason for mobile operators to charge higher mobile termination rates for calls across networks than for calls within their own networks.

The new rule on fees will come into effect next month. (Writing by Tiisetso Motsoeneng; Editing by Susan Fenton)

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