Still no court date for new out-of-bundle data rules

The High Court has still not set a date to hear cases brought by Cell C and MTN against ICASA over the implementation deadline for its new data regulations.

Cell C approached the High Court in Johannesburg on 7 June 2018 to interdict ICASA from enforcing its amended End-User and Subscriber Services Charter. The new rules were set to kick in the following day.

MTN joined Cell C with its own case against ICASA, and it confirmed to MyBroadband that its final response was submitted to the court on 2 August.

Cell C said that other than MTN launching its application, there have been no new developments in the case.

“It is likely that these two matters – Cell C’s and MTN’s – will be heard together, as they are similar and pleadings have not yet closed,” said a Cell C spokesperson.

“In the meantime, we are making the changes indicated in the regulations to our systems.”

ICASA confirmed that it had filed its responses to the applications brought by MTN and Cell C.

“We are currently awaiting a court date where the matter will be heard,” an ICASA spokesperson told MyBroadband.

New rules for out-of-bundle data

Under ICASA’s new regulations, all Internet service providers – including mobile networks – would be prohibited from charging subscribers for out-of-bundle usage without their consent.

They also require that networks offer users the ability to roll over unused data, and allow the transfer of data to subscribers on the same network.

Cell C, MTN, Telkom, and Vodacom requested an extension for the implementation deadline of the new rules, as they said they needed more time to make the necessary technical changes.

ICASA declined to grant the extension, however, stating it was not in the public’s interest to do so.

This caused Cell C to approach the court, requesting a six-month extension for all operators.

As an alternative option to an extension, Cell C asked the court to direct ICASA to engage with service providers within 30 days of the court order.

It must then determine a reasonable period within which to comply with the obligations in its amended regulations.

MTN and Cell C emphasised that they are not looking to have the regulations scrapped, and they are committed to complying with them.

Rain Mobile is unaffected by the regulations for now, as it does not offer data bundles to subscribers.

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

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Still no court date for new out-of-bundle data rules