Icasa's new regulations to govern data usage

These include a requirement that service providers ensure consumers don’t lose unused data and that customers receive notification when their usage is at 50%.

FILE: Icasa’s councillor Botlenyana Mokhele realising their final regulations on data bundles. Picture: @ICASA_org/Twitter.

JOHANNESBURG - The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has announced new regulations to govern the rules on mobile data expiry and out of bundle billing.

This follows March’s public hearings on the new rules.

These include a requirement that service providers ensure consumers don’t lose unused data and that customers receive notification when their usage is at 50%.

The announcement comes after an extensive consultation process following concerns over the high cost of data in the country as well as frustration over the expiry of data bundles.

But the regulating body has not announced whether it will cut the price of data, saying that decision will come after further consultations.

Icasa’s councillor Botlenyana Mokhele said: “All licensees are required to send usage depletion notification to consumers when their usage is at 50%, 80% and 100%. This will enable consumers to monitor their usage and control their spending on communication services.”

She says consumers will also have protection for their data.

“The second one is the rollover of data; all licensees are required to provide an option to consumers to roll over unused data. This will ensure that consumers do not lose unused data as it’s the current practice.”

DATA COSTS

Icasa says it’s not ready to announce whether data costs will be slashed, saying that the decision will only be made after further consultation.

South Africans have raised concerns about the high cost of data, with many supporting the “Data Must Fall” campaign.

Anyone expecting to find out whether the #DataMustFall campaign has paid off will probably have to wait another year.

For now, Icasa has announced new regulations that will ensure consumers are able to keep unused data.

LISTEN: Icasa’s verdict on data costs

The new regulations also allow for options by consumers to transfer data to other users on the same network and make sure that they won’t be charged out-of-bundle rates when their data has run out without their prior consent.

Icasa CEO Willington Ngwepe explains why the body is not announcing any decisions on costs.

“We deliberately stayed away from pricing issues and that’s primarily because the regulations of prices require a much more detailed market review process in terms of the legislature.”

He says the regulatory body will now go into the cost analysis on what informs prices charged in the market before making an announcement on what the correct retail price of data should be.