Telkom has said it is in favour of proposed regulations that would require operators to allow subscribers to opt out of OOB (out-of-bundle) billing.
It argued against regulations telling operators to opt-out subscribers from OOB data usage by default, however.
Subscribers should have a choice, and operators should be free to design products that are not disconnected by default, it said.
“The option to default automatically should be for the subscriber to choose, and should not be enforced by means of regulation,” Telkom told ICASA at public hearings on mobile data regulations.
“Some subscribers find the option of going OOB easier to manage than having to exercise the option to purchase additional data bundles.”
It added that it has kept its OOB rate low at 29c per MB – which reduces the likelihood of bill shock.
Mobile data validity
Telkom also disagreed with ICASA’s proposal to increase the minimum validity period of prepaid data bundles to three years.
This will reduce consumer choice, cause prices to increases, and make it more difficult for Telkom to compete, it said.
There are also technical implications to consider.
“Telkom’s network is designed to support its current data plans and expiry rules. The current plans complement the network rules to ensure that the network is operated efficiently and that subscribers experience a high-quality service,” said Telkom
“Extending the data expiry periods to three years prescriptively will disrupt the current configuration in the network.”
Telkom warned that the subsequent need for additional network resources will result in an increase in costs.
Extending the validity period to three years will also result in SIMs being kept for longer, which could result in fewer numbers being available in the mobile industry.
Transferring contract data
Another regulation ICASA has proposed is that postpaid subscribers be allowed to roll over unused data to the next billing period.
They should also be able to transfer data to other subscribers on the same network, said ICASA.
Telkom said enabling the transfer of data between different bundles is complex, as it has a variety of data bundles – which are time or usage-limit sensitive.
“A subscriber can elect to have a combination of these types of bundles, including time-based and volume-based bundles,” said Telkom.
“A selection process which allows subscribers to transfer a multitude of different types of packages to another subscriber is complicated and costly.”
This regulation’s implementation will have its challenges, which will most likely result in an increase in subscriber frustrations.
Telkom suggested its multi-SIM product as an alternative, which allows for data resources to be shared among multiple users.