Expiring mobile data bundles prejudice consumers: ICASA

ICASA said it has noted recent media reports about the price of data in South Africa.

There has also been requests for the regulator to respond to questions relating to data pricing.

ICASA said it aims to protect consumers by setting regulations which licensees must comply with.

One of these regulations is the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations, which were amended in April 2016 to include more protection for consumers.

The regulations state network providers must, at the point of sale, inform customers about in and out-of-bundle rates and the rules for the carry-over of unused voice minutes and data.

Don’t disconnect

It said network providers are prohibited from disconnecting the services of consumers while a disputed bill is being investigated, provided the consumer continues paying the subscription amount.

ICASA added that services like WhatsApp and Facebook have turned the focus of consumers from the price of voice minutes to the price of mobile data.

Despite data prices dropping by 45% over the past six years, ICASA said the concerns raised by consumers around high data prices are not unfounded.

Out-of-bundle rates were one area where ICASA said prices were still high.

Another area of concern was the expiry of prepaid and post-paid data bundles. ICASA believes that this practice is to the prejudice of consumers.

“To this end, we are consulting with the National Consumer Commission to explore possible measures to deal with this practice.”

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Expiring mobile data bundles prejudice consumers: ICASA