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The cellphone firms are set to lose a fortune - the fortune they have been stealing from us for decades.

In a long-overdue but very welcome announcement, Thursday, the relevant regulator, The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA), announced that the rules will change, so unused data can no longer be cancelled at month’s end.   And consumers will be given more warning before they are automatically put on massive tariffs when they run out of data.

Icasa councillor Bontlenyana Mokhele announced:  “It is a well-known reality that South African citizens are concerned about the money they spend every month on their consumption of data services.”

She announced:

  • Usage notifications – all licensees are required to send usage depletion notifications to consumers when their usage is at 50%, 80% and 100% depletion levels. This will enable consumers to monitor their usage and control spend on communication services.
  • Rollover of data – all licensees are required to provide an option to consumers to rollover unused data. This is to ensure that consumers do not lose unused data, as is the current practice.
  • Transfer of data – all licensees are required to provide an option to consumers to transfer data to other users on the same network.
  • Out-of-bundle billing – all licensees are no longer allowed to charge consumers out-of-bundle rates for data when their data has run out without the consumers’ specific prior consent. This will ensure that consumers are not defaulted to out-of-bundle data charges which are significantly higher than in-bundle charges.

No announcement on tariffs has yet been made, but these are being examined, amid concern that rates in SA are far too high.

Tweeted IT venture capitalist Michael Jordaan: “Welcome decision by telecoms regulator ICASA that consumers should be able to roll over unused mobile data and not be charged out-of-bundle rates without specific consent.

“Icasa rules that out-of-bundle charging requires specific consent. This means customers are far more likely to buy new bundles than pay for expensive out-of-bundle data.

“The end of data billshock.”




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