Back in 2016, after a sustained campaign to have data costs in the South African market reduced, ICASA, South Africa’s regulatory body for communications, broadcasting and postal services initiated a review of the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations. The purpose was to investigate the unreasonably high costs of data in the country.
After industrywide consultations and almost two years later, ICASA has come back with amendments to the regulations. The three main amendments to be published in the next week and become law a month later, are as follows;
New timeframes for the expiry of data bundles, with the shortest being 10 days for bundles between 1MB and 50MB, and the longest being 24 months for 20GB; Any unused data must rollover to the next month, this essentially means you have two months to use up your data.
Requirement for licensees to send usage notifications for data depletion to end-user; Service providers are compelled to notify you once you have used up 50%, 80% and 100% of your data.
For end-users to be able to opt-out or opt-in to out-of-bundle pricing on data, voice and SMS; Service providers are no longer allowed to charge you out-of-bundle rates for data after your data has run out. You can only be billed out-of-bundle rates once you’ve given specific consent to use out-of-bundle rates.
Finally consumers must be allowed to transfer of data; Service providers are required to provide a compulsory option to you to transfer data to other users on the same network.
Considering how much service providers have been allowed to abuse the market over the years, these are significant changes to regulate servicer providers. Data might not have fallen yet, but this is a step in the right direction.
All these changes are to be applied in a month’s time.