CRAN looks to regulate data prices

Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) acting CEO, Jochan Traut.

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) this week conducted a hearing to consult stakeholders in the telecommunications sector on the report of the benchmark charges for telecommunication services.

The intent to regulate stems from a 2013 CRAN board decision not to approve Telecom Namibia’s Online Service Time Division Multiplexing Connect tariffs submitted to it for approval in December 2012.
The board’s decision was based on a number of factors such as the fact that the current pricing was impairing competition, was too high, was sufficiently disaggregated and that the current margin between wholesale and retail pricing is low keeping in mind that Telecom Namibia is competing downstream and upstream with other licensees, and is not allowing other licensees enough discount to fairly compete with Telecom Namibia.
“The Act’ is very clear that the costs to customers for telecommunications services should be just, reasonable and affordable and that there should be fair competition and customer protection in the industry”, said CRAN acting CEO, Jochen Traut.
Due to the fact that parties could not agree on the rate, Traut said they resolved that a Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN) Leased Line cost model be developed by CRAN itself to determine the wholesale cost for leased lines in accordance with the cost study as contemplated in sections of the act that controls the regulator’s mandate and activities.
“CRAN is of the opinion that reduced lease line costs will not only lead to more effective competition in the market but will also lead to lower prices to the end consumer. This is in line with the objectives of the act and the mandate of CRAN,” he stated.
The communications regulating authority also said its next goal is to draft the new regulation and conduct another hearing to state the way forward. “We do not have a set time frame for our final decision but we hope to have made one in six months’ time. We hope to make the time frame shorter by making it a four-month process”, said CRAN’s Head: Economics and Sector Research, Helene Vosloo.