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August 14, 1997updated 03 Sep 2016 6:53pm

SOUTH AFRICAN REGULATOR OUTLAWS CALL-BACK SERVICES

By CBR Staff Writer

The South African Telecommunications Regulatory Authority SATRA, is bucking the worldwide trend towards telecoms deregulation and given telecoms operators two weeks to shut down their international call back services or face hefty penalties. The penalties, which come into force on September 1, include fines up to $108,000 and a draconian two year prison sentence for operators and their customers using call-back services. Call-back involves the use of third party countries’ carriers to re-route calls to another destinations. The decision, according to the Financial Times, has a not-so hidden political agenda, to protect the monopoly operator Telkom South African Ltd, which was given a fixed line monopoly for five years, on condition that it made the capital investment to supply 4.3 million new telephone lines to the townships and rural population. Telekom says that the call back operators are hitting its international revenues, which account for just 10% of telephone traffic but around 80% of revenue.

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