South Africans are urged to make their submissions to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) proposed new regulations that will extend the expiry period for data, voice and SMS services to six months.
The public has until 18 May to make their submission.
Icasa gazetted the regulations at the end of last month for public comment.
Unlike airtime, data bundles currently come with a 30-day expiry date and if they are not used within the specified time, they lapse.
If successful, the proposed regulations will see mobile operators extending the expiry period for data to six months.
Currently, data bundles are usually only valid for 30 days.
“These amendments are necessitated by a number of reasons. Including concerns raised by various stakeholders, consumer groups and social media campaigns with regards to data expiry rules. High out-of-bundle rates and out-of-bundle rules currently applied by licensees. Some of the proposed amendments are that unused data and obtained either through prepaid or postpaid channels shall not expire before six months,” says Paseka Maleka, Icasa Spokesperson.
Both the consumer and the operator will benefit
Technology analysts believe this is a long-awaited improvement in the mobile communication landscape.
Telecoms expert Arthur Goldstuck says Icasa is doing what consumers have always been asking for.
“Icasa is in effect forcing the mobile operators to embrace a business practice that is in the interest of the consumer,” says Goldstuck.
Goldstuck however says in the end both the consumer and the operator will benefit.
“In the long term, it’s in the interest of the operator as well because it will mean that the consumer will have less reason to distrust the operators. It will also build greater loyalty. The moment you take away something from a consumer for which they paid, you are creating both distrust and disloyalty,” says Goldstuck.
ICASA has released the Draft End-User & Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations. The proposed amendments aim to improve the quality of service for electronic communication services while introducing new regulations for voice, SMS, & data services https://t.co/N4uKWewccz pic.twitter.com/zMwlxOO02B
— ICASA (@ICASA_org) April 22, 2022