Cell C will tackle data expiry concerns

Cell C plans to tackle the issue of expiring mobile data, CEO Jose Dos Santos told Rapport.

“We are committed to doing the right thing,” he said.

His statement follows ICASA publishing proposed changes to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations.

ICASA wants mobile operators to warn subscribers when their data bundles are about to expire, block automatic out-of-bundle data billing, and let data bundles last longer.

This means Vodacom, MTN, and Cell C will have to stop you from continuing to use data, and being billed between R1 and R2 per MB, when your bundle is depleted.

Mobile operators must also extend the validity of a data bundle if a subscriber loads a new bundle before their current one has expired, and must warn subscribers before their bundle expires.

The proposed validity periods for data bundles are detailed below.

Data bundle Validity period
 1MB -50MB 10 days
 50MB-500MB 30 days
 500MB-1GB 60 days
 1GB-5GB 90 days
 5GB-10GB 180 days
 10GB-20GB 12 months
 20GB+ 24 months

To hell and back

Dos Santos also spoke to Rapport about putting their recapitalisation deal together, with Blue Label Telecoms acquiring a 45% stake in Cell C for R5.5 billion.

The signing of the final documents alone took two and half hours, while the deal took Dos Santos “to hell and back”.

It involved 66 overseas trips and thousands of emails – over 4,000 about one issue – said Dos Santos, leaving him wiser and more patient.

Dos Santos said he learnt the art of walking the line between old and new shareholders, balancing their needs, and trying to accommodate everyone in a sensitive situation.

Cell C is now 45% owned by Blue Label Telecoms, 30% by 3C Telecommunications, 15% by Net1, and 10% by staff, following the completion of the deal.

Crucially, its debt has been recaptialised from around R23 billion to R6 billion.

Cell C now has a strong balance sheet and cash flow, and is ready to show what it can do, he said.

Now read: R2-per-MB out-of-bundle fees must go – ICASA

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Cell C will tackle data expiry concerns