New data rules postponed while ICASA and Cell C go to court

ICASA has stated it will defend a court application by Cell C to postpone the implementation of the amended End-User and Subscriber Services Charter Regulations.

Cell C said it was forced to apply for the urgent interdict, following a lack of response from ICASA to its multiple requests for a delay in the deadline for the implementation of the regulations.

Cell C added that it would be surprised if any of the mobile operators will be fully compliant with ICASA’s deadline – Friday, 8 June 2018.

Cell C said it will need at least six months to properly comply with the regulations.

The recently-published amendments – which include forcing networks to let users roll over unused mobile data, transfer data to other subscribers, and not charge OOB rates by default – came with a one-month window in which they had to be implemented.

Telkom, Cell C, Vodacom, and MTN requested that ICASA extend its deadline to implement the regulations.

“Prior to publication, Cell C advised the regulator that while it was fully committed to complying with the regulations, it was impossible to meet the proposed timeline,” said Cell C.

“Despite this, ICASA issued the regulations with the one-month timeframe still included.”

No extension

ICASA has now stated it will defend the matter, and has “resolved to postpone the effective date until the matter has been heard and pronounced upon by the court”.

“During this intervening period, licensees will not be penalised for non-compliance,” said ICASA.

It added that giving networks the extensions they requested would not be in the public interest – and is why it refused the requests.

“It is important to note that the regulations were necessitated by the general concerns about the unfair business rules imposed by licensees in the provision of data services to consumers,” said ICASA.

“In particular, the regulations seek to grant consumers relief against expiry of data, bill shock occasioned by lack of transparency on out-of-bundle charges, and other rules which are prejudicial to consumers.”

“The effect of the extension would be that consumers will continue to be prejudiced by the continued application of the impugned business rules,” it said.

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New data rules postponed while ICASA and Cell C go to court