#DataMustFall: Cell C extends data bundles

Johannesburg - Mobile network Cell C has responded to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa's) regulation of data by dropping out-of-bundle rates and extending bundle expiry.

‎Surie Ramasary, executive head products and services at Cell C, told Fin24 that the move came amid increasing customer appetite for data and a spike in data usage.

“Data traffic has grown exponentially and usage is exploding. Over the past couple of years, data was just a consideration among networks, but now access to the internet is a part of people’s lives, with social media completely changing use of the internet,” Ramasary told Fin24. 

“There is still a bulk of customers who make use of network voice calls, but consumers are now transferring more data-rich content over the internet,” she added.

The network has been aggressively rolling out fibre for home and business usage as well as introducing numerous data packages and bundles, such as unlimited use of WhatsApp for R12 a month.

“We are working to keep customers happy through volume extensions and price reductions,” Ramasary told Fin24.

Cell C has extended the validity period of its 10GB, 20GB and 30GB data bundles from 30 days to 90 days to ensure customers have time to use the larger data bundles before they expire.

The network will also reduce its out-of-bundle data rate for prepaid customers on its lowest tariff plan to 15 cents per MB, effective October 1 2017.  

From September 20 2017, Cell C customers can extend the validity of their data bundles indefinitely by purchasing another data bundle before the current one expires, starting from R29 for 100MB.

On the contract side and effective from October 2017, Cell C SmartData customers will automatically have unused data carried over into the next month, effectively extending the validity of their data from 30 days to 60 days. 

Last month it was announced that Icasa wanted to amend the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations by introducing “out-of-bundle billing practices” and other “expiry of data practices”.

Previously, the regulator announced it would hold an inquiry in an attempt to reduce high data costs. The probe will be conducted over four phases and will be completed in March 2018.  

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