Telecoms: Icasa proposes data bundles relief for consumers

Mobile data users may soon no longer have to worry about their bundles expiring for at least six months, following proposed amendments to regulations by Icasa. A Saturday Star report says Icasa has published amendments to its end-user and subscriber service charter regulations in which it is proposed that telecommunications operators be forced to roll over data bundles for a minimum of six months. The draft regulations also deal with the roll-over of voice and SMS bundles. The regulations were last amended in 2018, and subsequently implemented in February 2019, following an intense public backlash against perceived high mobile data charges, under the banner of the ‘data must fall’ movement. In the new draft amendments to the regulations, Icasa has proposed that data, SMS, and voice bundles should not expire for a minimum of six months, except for promotional packages, for both prepaid and post-paid users. Second, the regulator proposed that operators apply new voice and SMS bundles only once the old ones have been used up, and for the operators to compensate users appropriately by extending usage or giving a rebate for network outages or service breakdowns. It stipulated that only once previously allocated data was depleted, should newly allocated data be used. Affected parties have been urged to provide submissions in writing on the proposed regulations by no later than 4pm on 18 May. Byron Kennedy, a spokesperson for Vodacom SA, said the operator was aware of Icasa’s latest draft end-user and subscriber service charter amendment regulations, and was fully committed to participating in the process outlined by the regulator.

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