Seychelles preps new telecommunications legislation
Authorities in Seychelles are deliberating over the Broadcasting and Telecommunications Act that will ensure mobile phone users are charged per second instead of the current per minute billing.
Currently, a prepaid call in Seychelles cost almost SCR4 (US$0.23) per minutes.
Benjamin Choppy, principal secretary of the Department of Information and Communications Technology has told the media that though his office has not registered a large number of complaints from users on the per minute billing, the government sought regulation that would position the island nation in line with global jurisdictions.
Choppy said the draft regulation is expected to be ready by the end of either June or July 2020, but is likely to only come into effect at the beginning of 2021.
Choppy was quoted by Seychelles News Agency saying, “According to the best International practices, clients should be paying for their actual usage. On the proposition of the regulation, service providers are obliged to charge per second, so if you are making a 30 second call, you pay for the actual 30 seconds of the call and not a full one minute.”
Airtel Seychelles along with Cable and Wireless Seychelles provide local mobile services.
Erol Sophola, legal, regulatory, internal audits and compliance manager at Airtel Seychelles, said the company is still waiting for an official communication on the matter from the regulator along with the proposed regulation to be gazette.
“These official communications will provide details on when and how the per second billing will be implemented. It’s only then we would be able to appreciate the possible implications of the regulation on both the business and the customer. Nevertheless, Airtel will comply with its legal obligations and remains committed to serving the best interests of the people and country,” said Sophola.
Andrew Makanya, a telecom analyst at Computer Association of Zambia said, “It’s good that Seychelles is coming up with the regulation because per minute billing always benefit operators as users pay for a full minute even when the call was just for a few seconds, which is unfair.”