A Vodacom customer contacted MyBroadband this week stating that their mobile data bundles were being depleted on a “Last In First Out” (LIFO) basis, which is in contravention of ICASA’s regulations which came into effect on 1 March 2019.
Among other requirements, these regulations require networks to deplete data on a “First In First Out” (FIFO) basis.
This means that your older data bundles should be used up before your newer bundles in order to optimise the amount of data eligible for rollover.
Depleting newer data bundles first means that the average expiry date of a customer’s rolled-over data balance becomes earlier.
The customer who contacted MyBroadband received a 20GB data bundle on 1 March 2019 and was left with 4.27GB of this bundle on 31 March 2019. On 1 April 2019, the customer then received a new 20GB data bundle.
According to the FIFO system, the bundle with a balance of 4.27GB should have been depleted first when usage occurred – but the new 20GB bundle which expired on 30 April began depleting instead.
MyBroadband contacted Vodacom for feedback on this case to determine whether this was an isolated incident or a possible failure to switch to the new rules.
Vodacom told MyBroadband that applying new systems in line with the regulations to its large customer base was a technical challenge.
“To meet the requirements of the regulations, Vodacom had to apply an order of consumption rule change to a base of over 40 million subscribers in addition to a number of other changes brought about by ICASA’s charter,” Vodacom stated.
“As one might expect with a complex and technical implementation of this magnitude – arguably one of the largest in Vodacom’s history – there will be some glitches.”
Vodacom said its technical team has worked tirelessly to resolve these when they arise and is currently investigating the case mentioned above.
“[The affected customer]’s case is an isolated incident that our technical team is currently investigating as all customers should have their data depleting according to the FIFO order of consumption rules,” Vodacom stated.
Vodacom added that its new data depletion system has already been implemented which automatically prevents out-of-bundle use.
Customers can also purchase Vodacom’s Data Refill product or set an out-of-bundle limit if they wish to retain connectivity after depleting their data bundle.