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Namibia edges closer to telco tariff limits

Namibia edges closer to telco tariff limits

The Communications Regulatory Authority of Namibia (CRAN) has met with industry representatives as officials prepare to enforce tariff limits on the provision of local telecommunications services.

The Regulator says the regulations, which are subject to change following consultations, will apply to licensed telecommunications service providers that are regarded as dominant operators in Namibia for national data transmission, as well as those who provide prearranged connectivity in the form of leased lines.

Festus Mbandeka, Chief Executive Officer at CRAN says plans to introduce the pricing regulations have been in the making for close to two years.

"The purpose of these regulations is to introduce price caps, which licensees may charge for leased line and other pre-arranged connectivity. CRAN increased the price caps with inflation from the original cost study which was completed in 2015 due to the fact that this decision was to ensure that Telecom Namibia is not affected as a provider of leased lines."

Mbandeka expects the proposed regulations to be in place by 1 January 2018 and believes this will give operators enough time to implement the regulations and apply for new tariffs.

While the introduction of pricing limits for telecommunications services seems to be in line with similar actions over the last few months by regulators BOCRA and ICASA of neighbouring Botswana and South Africa respectively, CRAN is also planning to introduce new regulations for its adjudication of disputes in the telecommunications sector.

The regulator says this move is aimed at bringing the procedures in line with the country's communications laws.

"The (proposed) regulations make provision for alternative disputes resolutions in the form of mediation and to regulate the procedures for such mediation. The regulations will deal with procedures for the resolution of complaints and requests for adjudication received by CRAN and will apply to complaints, and service providers," details Mbandeka.

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