Data will no longer expire, but no change in prices for now

Botlenyana Mokhele announcing Icasa’s regulations on data usage. Picture: @ICASA_org/Twitter
Botlenyana Mokhele announcing Icasa’s regulations on data usage. Picture: @ICASA_org/Twitter

Consumers received some welcome news as the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) announced that data will no longer expire.

According to the new requirements that have been passed, service providers will have to ensure that consumers don’t lose unused data and that they receive a notification when their usage is at 50%.

The announcement, made by the regulator during a media briefing in Johannesburg on Thursday, follows extensive consultation processes about the high cost of data and frustration over the expiry of data bundles.

Consumers can expect no immediate changes as no decisions on data costs had been taken, which has been the bigger concern for South Africans.

There was no indication of whether Icasa would cut the price of data, stating that a decision would come after further consultations

“All licensees are no longer allowed to charge consumers out of bundle rates for data when the data has run out without their specific consent.

"This will ensure that consumers are not defaulted to out-of-bundle, which is significantly higher,” Icasa’s 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.

“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 is the current practice,” Mokhele added.

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