The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) said it wants to reduce termination rates for small cellphone operators in an effort to reduce communication costs.

MTN Group said on Tuesday that it would pursue legal options against the regulations and it is likely that Vodacom will join them in the legal battle.

MTN has called for the immediate removal of the new regulations, which include a 50% cut in all termination rates. Termination rates are fees that operators charge each other to carry calls between their networks.

Under Icasa’s plan, smaller operators such as Cell C and Telkom Mobile will see rates decrease from 40 cents to 20 cents from 1 March.

Operators such as MTN and Vodacom, meanwhile, will pay 44 cents per minute during calls to the smaller networks.

But, according to a report on Eyewitness News, Icasa’s Paseka Maleka said the regulations were aimed at cutting costs and helping smaller companies compete.

“The reason we’re decreasing termination rates is so that we reduce the cost to communicate and also to make sure small operators like Cell C and Telkom Mobile are able to grow within the market and get some market share.”