In July 2017, Mascom launched an application at the High Court against BOCRA seeking review of the Regulatory Directive No. 1 of 2017 issued by BOCRA on the 24th March 2017 to regulate Mobile Termination Rates (MTRs) in Botswana. MTRs are the charges which operators charge one another for network interconnections.
Following a Cost Model and Pricing Framework study conducted by BOCRA, the regulator determined that MTRs that form part of prices for calls should come down to reach 13 thebe by 1 June 2018 and that there was no justification for mobile operators to charge less for calls within their own networks (On-Net calls) and more for calls across networks (Off Net Calls). BOCRA then gave operators two years to remove Off-Net premium and ensure that they charged consumers the same price for On-net and Off Net calls.
Mascom challenged the Directive in court. The reasons advanced by Mascom for the review application were that the Directive was illegal, irrational and improper as BOCRA directed a two-year glide-path for reduction of tariffs contrary to three years that it had expected from consultations and that BOCRA issued the Directive before consultations with stakeholders were complete.
Honourable Justice Michael Leburu handed judgement down on the 22nd May 2018 in favour of BOCRA.
The Judge in his wisdom endorsed the Directive as being legal, proper and rational and applauded BOCRA for putting the interests of consumers above itself as an organisation and pursuing its mandate as a regulator.