Botswana seeks curbing telecom overcharging

Botswana Communications Regulatory Authority (BOCRA) has announced plans to float a tender for an auditing system for local telecom operators’ billing systems.

The authority says the exercise is aimed to protect consumers and allay recent allegations before parliament that subscribers are sometimes charged for unanswered calls.

Jericho Keletso, BOCRA communications manager, said the authority will soon float a tender for the financial year 2014/2015, adding that the audit results will be made available by December.

“The authority periodically conducts such audits as part of the regulatory function to ensure consumer protection,” said Keletso.

Kelesto said tenders for the audit will be published and the time frame will depend on the bidders’ submissions.

Nonofo Molefhi, Minister of Transport and Communications, is on record saying mobile phone companies are not allowed to charge for unanswered.

“Customers who are charged for unanswered calls should take up the matter with the concerned mobile phone company following its complaint procedure and if that is not resolved it can be escalated to BOCRA,” said Molefi.

BOCRA assesses the proposed mobile phone charges and either approves or counter-proposes to ensure the charges are cost-oriented. The authority is mandated with constantly monitoring the operators to ensure adherence to the approved charges.

The non-compliant operators will be advised to correct their billing systems and BOCRA will seek validation of such correction from the operator.