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Communications Minister Nonvula Mokonyane. File PIC GCIS

Proposed regulations on mobile data welcomed

Cabinet has welcomed the new rules proposed by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to improve regulations around data, SMS and voice services.

Minister of Communications Nomvula Mokonyane said on Thursday the changes mark a step toward ensuring fairness in business practice around data pricing and ensuring that consumers will not lose unused data.

“The Market Inquiry being conducted by the Competition Commission will highlight and focus on additional measures to ensure South African data prices support broader digital access and prepare us for the opportunities created by the Fourth Industrial Revolution,” said the Minister.

She was briefing the media in Cape Town following Wednesday’s Cabinet meeting.

On 26 April, Icasa announced the final End-User and Service Subscriber Charter Regulations.

The regulations seek to protect the rights of consumers by ensuring they are provided with sufficient information that will assist them in making informed decisions; as well as facilitate redress for those consumers who have been unfairly treated by network providers.

Under the proposed new regulations, 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.

All licensees are required to provide an option to consumers to roll over unused data. This is to ensure that consumers do not lose unused data as is the current practice.

Icasa said the proposed regulations provide for all licensees to provide an option to consumers to transfer data to other users on the same network. They are also 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 do not default to out-of-bundle data charges which are significantly higher than in-bundle charges. – SAnews.gov.za

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