After the online socioeconomic movement that was #DataMustFall, South African telecomms regulatory body Icasa set out to (finally) address consumer concerns about how mobile operators in the country were handling customers’ data usage. This led to a new set of regulations being proposed, which quickly garnered the attention of service providers Cell C, Vodacom, and Telkom… but not in a good way.
Icasa regulatory revisions boil down to four things:
Allow users to roll over unused data – though Icasa left it to providers to determine how long the rollover period should be
Allow users to transfer their unused data to other users on the same network
Give users timely in-bundle data usage warnings at 50%, 80% and 100% of usage
Make out-of-bundle data usage strictly opt-in only – no more nasty out-of-bundle rate surprises
The new regulations were meant to come into effect on 8 June. Unsurprisingly, that didn’t happen, as Cell C on Wednesday, 6 June, filed an urgent interdict against Icasa with the High Court in Johannesburg to halt implementation. The court gave Icasa ten days to respond to Cell C’s application with an affidavit, whereafter Cell C will then have another five days to file its own response.
And what does Cell C want? More time, of course. Six months of it – in order to make sure that their systems are able to properly make the transition and comply with Icasa’s new regulations. The provider’s interdict claimed that Icasa hadn’t given sufficient time, though the regulator tabled its regulations on 7 May and gave companies one month to comply.
So far, Icasa has yet to respond to Cell C’s interdict, and so we wait. But there is hope on the horizon for us lowly data users that we shall no longer have to do the month-end usage jig!