Vodacom has prepared its network for the implementation of the amended End-User and Subscriber Services Charter Regulations published by ICASA, although it still needs some clarification from the regulator.
These regulations will require mobile operators to enable the rollover of unused data and to facilitate the transfer of data to other users on the same network.
Additionally, mobile operators will no longer be able to charge out-of-bundle rates by default.
Earlier this year, Cell C applied for an interdict against ICASA to have the implementation postponed due to a lack of clarification from ICASA on multiple requests regarding the regulations.
ICASA contested this court application, and the two operators are set to battle out the issue in court this month.
Speaking in an interview with MyBroadband, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub said Vodacom was prepared to implement these regulations and has even taken steps towards diminishing out-of-bundle data usage.
Joosub said that Vodacom has been building the various products and systems required to meet the regulations.
“We have been readying the network and creating the different product constructs that are needed for full implementation,” he said.
He added that further clarification from ICASA is required in order for Vodacom to proceed, but the network is otherwise ready to add support for the new functionality.
“I would say we are very close to implementation, but we still need some clarifications from the regulator.”
“We have written to them to ask for clarifications, but because of this court case, they have not been saying too much,” Joosub said.
He said that these clarifications are needed to provide guidance for situations where some of the new rules would be difficult or impossible to implement.
“I think hopefully once the court case gets resolved we can get clarity on certain things, for example sending notifications on machine-to-machine communications, where there is nothing to send it to,” Joosub said.
Joosub noted that Vodacom has been making steady efforts to shift customers from out-of-bundle data usage for some time now in preparation for the implementation of the new regulations.
This initiative resulted in the company’s interim results for the six months ended 30 September 2018 reflecting a slightly lower data revenue growth of 7.5%.
However, the company has seen strong growth in the number of data bundles sold, driven by its Just 4 You personalised offers.
Data traffic continues to see impressive growth on Vodacom’s network, and the number of active data users has increased.
Joosub said that Vodacom would continue to reduce out-of-bundle data spend, taking steps to reduce exposure to customers.
“What we are doing is trying to bring down and reduce out-of-bundle exposure, hence our subdued data growth because we have taken deliberate steps to try and deal with it.”