File image: IOL.

CAPE TOWN – The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has published clarification amendments to the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations.

Set to come into effect between the 28th of February and 1st of March 2019, the new regulations will mean that mobile operators may no longer start billing subscribers for out-of-bundle tariffs when their data bundles are depleted.

This means that by law, your mobile network operator has to give you the option to buy a new bundle or agree to out-of-bundle billing. The amendment stated that mobile operators must also send usage depletion notifications as customers consume their data bundles.

According to the amended regulations published on Tuesday (12 February), these usage depletion notifications must be sent via SMS, push notification or ‘any other applicable means’.

This means that users must receive usage notifications when they reach the amounts of 50 percent depletion; 80 percent depletion and 100 percent depletion.

Here are what mobile operators have said:

FNB

FNB announced last week that customers who use FNB Connect will benefit from data rollover changes and the ability to transfer mobile data.

The company said its MVNO would align with ICASA’s new regulations for mobile operators, which are set to come into effect on 28 February.

Vodacom

On social media Vodacom users were outraged to find that the network operator would be charging customers for the “data bundle roll-over service”. According to its company website, users will pay as much as R49 to roll over a data bundle of more than 1GB, with a validity period of more than one day.

MTN

MTN has stated that it has already been complaint with the law as it has been offering data rollover for years. According to the company, contract customers can already roll over data up until two months of the date of purchase and prepaid costumers’ data bundles will be rolled over, as long as the customer buys another bundle before the existing one expires.

Cell C

Cell C stated that data for contract customers will roll over to the next month, for a maximum period of two months. The oldest data will be used first, to ensure that the current month’s data can be rolled over to the next month.

After two months passed, users will have the option to extend unused data at a cost which is yet to be released.  However, the company noted that the only 500MB is the maximum amount which can be rolled over after two months.

For prepaid customers, recurring data bundles will roll over to the next month at no additional cost. For larger bundles, a nominal fee is payable for the additional time.

All free data, reward data, promo data and service-specific bundles such as WhatsApp is, however, excluded from being rolled over.

Telkom

Telkom has stated that since the 1st of December 2018, an option to opt into or out of out-of-bundle usage was implemented, data extension periods introduced and transfer of data on the network was made available to costumers.

BUSINESS REPORT ONLINE