What ISPs think of ICASA’s new data rollover and transfer rules

ICASA published its amended End-User and Subscriber Services Charter regulations in May 2018, which were set to come into force on 7 June 2018.

Under the new regulations, service providers are prohibited from charging subscribers for out-of-bundle usage without consent.

They also require networks to offer the ability to roll over unused data, and transfer data to another subscriber on the same network.

Cell C, MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom requested an extension from the regulator on the implementation of the new rules, as they required more time to make the necessary technical changes.

The regulator declined to grant the extension, as it was not in the public’s interest.

Court battle

On the day of the deadline, however, Cell C filed an urgent interdict against ICASA.

The court suspended ICASA’s regulations and gave all respondents 10 days to file responding affidavits.

While mobile network service providers are the focus of ICASA’s attention, the new regulations will not only affect cellular companies.

Internet providers which offer services on fixed-line infrastructure must also comply with the regulations, and many will have to build systems to let subscribers transfer data to one another.

Afrihost, Internet Solutions, and Cybersmart told MyBroadband what they think of the requirements.


Afrihost

Afrihost said it already provides usage notifications and out-of-bundle opt-in to users, as required by the regulations.

It also caters for data rollover, which will be tweaked to comply with the regulations, it said.

“The only one that we need more clarity on before we implement is the transfer of data between users, as this could be fairly complex,” said Afrihost.


Internet Solutions

Tony Walt, the chief solutions and operations officer at Internet Solutions, said the consequences of not complying with ICASA’s regulations is a fine not exceeding R5 million, and non-monetary penalties.

Walt said they were also aware of unsuccessful attempts by other ISPs to secure an extension.

Internet Solutions worked towards putting the necessary measures in place to ensure it was compliant with the new regulatory requirements by 7 June 2018, said Walt.


Cybersmart

Cybersmart CTO Laurie Fialkov told MyBroadband he doesn’t believe ICASA’s approach with the amended regulations was the best way to deal with the problems it aims to address.

“Too much regulation inhibits choice, it does not increase it,” said Fialkov.

He said it is not a good thing when ICASA takes a problem in one sector of the industry – like the data rules of cellular operators – and tries to solve it with regulation, instead of allowing more competition.

ICASA taking the rules it wants to impose on the cellular industry, massaging the wording a bit, and making them apply to the rest of the industry is also a poor choice.


Now read: ICASA’s big plans for data prices in South Africa

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What ISPs think of ICASA’s new data rollover and transfer rules