Are EmaSwati about to pay less for data in the country? Well, probably, as the Eswatini Communications Commission (ESCCOM) has decided to reduce the wholesale rates charged by the Eswatini Post & Telecommunication Corporation (EPTC) following an assessment on their prices.  This means Internet Service Providers (ISPs) will now pay less to EPTC, who is the wholesaler in the country. This, effectively means the end -user is also likely to pay lower prices for internet broadband, and installation costs.

Photo Credit: Eswatini Communications Commission

  • Decision by ESCCOM anticipated to lead to end-users/ordinary emaSwati paying less in internet access.
  • Ensure Eswatini ranks similar in wholesale rates with competitive markets in the SADC region

According to the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), wholesale rates refer to prices paid by competitors to access large companies’ high-speed access networks in order to provide various services to their own customers, such as Internet, television or telephone services. ESCCOM, in a notice issued out, states that they undertook an assessment in relation to EPTC’s wholesale leased line, broadband and installation costs and compared them with similar sized markets within SADC; particularly Botswana and Lesotho. The regulator notes that through its findings and extensive public consultation process it decided to reduce EPTC’s wholesale rates. “Having duly considered comments received through the public consultation process, the Commission hereby issues a final decision for the implementation of a 60% price reduction on a three year glide path” notes the statement.

In detail, the findings uncovered that Eswatini prices remain the highest for wholesale installation fee, wholesale leased lines and wholesale internet broadband within the region. ESCCOM further notes that interconnection or access services prices remain high which leads to market distortion in the downstream market for leased lines and broadband, to the detriment of the user. The decision by ESCCOM is effective on the 1st of April 2022.

Summary of Final Decision by ESCCOM

  • EPTC to review and reduce current wholesale and installation costs
  • EPTC to introduce a flat fee installation cost for all band width speeds
  • EPTC to offer wholesale last mile ADSL- shared internet access services at wholesale rates
  • EPTC to reduce and review all national leased line rates
  • EPTC to review and reduce all wholesome Internet Band width rates across all speeds

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