File image: Vodacom. (File photo: Nadine Hutton). IOL.

CAPE TOWN - Following the new regulations introduced by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) in April, Vodacom has said that it is committed to implementing the new regulations and reducing out of bundle rates.  

This comes after public uproar against the steep prices of data in South Africa took to the forefront last year. This was followed by a #DataMustFall campaign on Twitter which gained momentum. 

The steep prices of data were also analysed by Icasa in March. According to a report that was published by Icasa which compared the cost of data in all the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) nations, SA’s data prices is the third most expensive. 

The findings was published in a report which analysed the tariff plans offered by local operators. Icasa focused on data bundles of 500MB, 1GB and 2GB. 

After Icasa’s recent change in regulations, mobile operators have since been placed under pressure to revise their data prices. How this is going to be achieved remains a topic of great interest as South Africans also wonder how exactly they will benefit from this new rollout. 

Although no pricing changes have been released as yet, according to a Vodacom spokesperson, Vodacom is working hard to implement the changes by the deadline, June 8. 

“Vodacom is working hard to be ready to implement the new regulations by the 8 June deadline. We’re still working through some of the detail, particularly the technical implementation, to ensure that our systems can accommodate the changes”, said a Vodacom spokesperson. 

Vodacom also said that the outcome Icasa has come to does not undo much of the work that has been done in recent years to drive data prices lower. 

The group added that already two thirds of all bundles have an hourly, daily or weekly expiry term. The Vodacom spokesperson then pointed out that while the data price may be lower, this would mean it will have a shorter expiry term. 

“The shorter the expiry term, the lower the price so enforcing a three-year expiry would have had the unintended consequence of pushing prices higher”, said the Vodacom spokesperson. 

Meanwhile, the group said that they are actively committed to further reducing the out-of-bundle rate which has already been reduced by as much as 50% in October last year. 

“From an out-of-bundle perspective, we reduced prices by as much as 50% in October last year and we’re committed to reducing this even further this year. We’ve also introduced a number of innovations in recent times so that customers stay in bundle”, said the spokesperson.