File photo: Sarah Makoe

Johannesburg - Vodacom and MTN have managed to frustrate Icasa's efforts to increase competition in the mobile telecommunications market, cellphone operator Cell C said on Monday.

More competition would have resulted in lower prices for consumers, the company's acting CEO Jose Dos Santos in a statement.

He said uncertainty over termination rates would make it difficult for smaller operators to confirm their business plans.

“It also negatively impacts on the smaller operators' ability to bring down prices to ensure all South Africans have access to affordable communications.”

The High Court in Johannesburg on Monday declared new call termination rates proposed by Icasa invalid and unlawful. The court gave the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) six months to amend its regulations.

Dos Santos however said the ruling was a step in a right direction and positive for consumers and the South African economy.

MTN and Vodacom had taken Icasa to court on an urgent basis to stop it from implementing a regulation on mobile termination rates. These are the rates operators pay one another for calls to other networks