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South Africa regulator bars Telecoms from auto Billing Subscribers out-of-bundles and Preventing Data Sharing

by Milicent Atieno
In South Africa regulator bars Telecoms from automatically billing subscribers out of bundles and preventing data sharing

On May 7, 2018, the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) published a change in regulations managing how telecommunications companies in the country handle mobile data subscriptions.

ICASA amended regulations require all mobile data service providers in South Africa to:

Offer mobile data rollover to their subscribers; though the regulator did leave it up to the telecoms to choose just how long that period for rollover shall be.

Telecoms to send usage depletion notifications to all customers when they have used up 50%, 80%, and 100% of their mobile data bundle subscription.

Out-of-bundle data shall be an explicit opt-in exercise by the subscribers, the customers will not find themselves automatically taken to the out-of-bundle rates once they have depleted their bundles.

Subscribers to be given the option of sharing their unused mobile data with other subscribers in the network

Telecommunication companies now complying to the new regulations

ICASA has set the deadline for telecoms in South Africa to comply as June 8, 2018. But Cell C filed an urgent application in a high court in Johannesburg against ICASA arguing the court that the deadline be pushed further. As the telecoms needed at least six months to comply. MTN South Africa joined in the application.

The court granted them their wishes and the deadline was pushed to the end of February 2019. However, a number of telecoms in the country have reported having already complied. Telkom, for one, reported having fully complied, while MTN South Africa said it has begun the process of complying.

Over the past weeks we have worked around the clock to do extensive system changes to comply with the requirement of the new regulations,” said MTN in a statement. “We are pleased that we have successfully take a step towards complying with the new regulations, which will go a long way towards improving customer experience and helping customers to manage their data spend.”

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