ICASA’s End-User and Subscriber Service Charter has been implemented for just over a month now, with a last deadline looming on 12 April 2019.
This deadline was extended to provide operators with additional time to implement opt-out notifications for voice, SMS, and data depletion – as well as out-of-bundle usage requirements.
The authority’s regulations regarding mobile data bundle rollover and validity are fully in effect however, and these have influenced the expiry of prepaid and contract data bundles on mobile networks in South Africa.
Notably, data rollover is now available from all mobile operators in South Africa, while the standard validity periods of certain bundles have also been affected.
A summary of how long a data bundle lasts on Vodacom, MTN, Cell C, and Telkom under the new regulations is detailed below.
The mobile operator said that contract customers who are subscribed to packages which include data will continue to have data rolled over for one month, free of charge.
Remaining data on bundle purchases by all customers will be rolled over at no additional charge if a customer purchases the same bundle, it added.
Vodacom initially implemented a data rollover service which aimed to charge customers to roll over their mobile data, but this was quickly scrapped in favour of a free rollover option after ICASA voiced concern about the operator’s plan.
As it currently stands, your Vodacom monthly data bundle on contract will expire after two months, and prepaid customers who repeat data bundle purchases on a monthly basis will also see their data roll over for an additional month.
MTN does not charge its customers for data rollover and automatically rolls over data provided users buy another bundle before the previous one expires.
On ad hoc bundles, data can be rolled over in perpetuity as long as the customer buys another bundle before the existing bundle expires. When the customer buys a new bundle, the data remaining on the original bundle will roll over.
MTN contract customers have their data roll over automatically each month to the maximum of twice the monthly allocation of data.
For example, a customer with an MTN Made for Me XL package would have 5.5GB per month. At the end of that month, if the customer had not used any data, that full 5.5GB would roll over, making 11GB available to the customer.
This means that as long as you buy data bundles regularly on prepaid, your monthly data should continue to roll over indefinitely.
Cell C allows its customers to roll over data for a nominal fee on amounts greater than 100MB.
This is in addition to a data rollover system which works similarly to MTN’s offering, rolling over data for free if a bundle is purchased before the previous bundle expires.
Customers with 100MB or less remaining will be able to roll over their data for free for an additional seven days, while customers that rollover between 101MB and 500MB of data can roll over free for an additional day.
Extending a data bundle beyond this period will cost you, depending on the amount of time specified for the rollover.
This means that if you buy bundles on a monthly basis before your previous one expires, your data will roll over at no charge.
Telkom’s data validity page provides a breakdown of the mobile operator’s data bundle expiry information.
Once-off and recurring data bundles of any size are active for the rest of the month in which they are purchased in addition to six months afterwards. This does not apply to promotional data for certain applications or time periods.
FreeMe contract customers with inclusive data allocations will see their data expire at the end of two calendar months, with any promotional data expiring at the end of the current month of allocation.
The same is true for SmartBroadband Wireless plans, with the prepaid LTE-A SmartBroadband Wireless bundles expiring 61 days after purchase.
Additionally, the mobile operator’s prepaid FreeMe Bundles have been extended to a validity period of 61 days.