Ellipsis, a legal advisory that specialises in South African telecommunications, has partnered with MyBroadband to make a submission to the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) on behalf of consumers.
ICASA put out a call for feedback in December regarding the changes it made to regulations about bundle usage notifications, data rollover, data transfer, and how operators should handle out-of-bundle billing.
These new rules were added the ICASA’s End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations in February 2019.
Essentially, the regulations aimed to force network service providers to do the following:
- Provide useful bundle usage notifications.
- Roll over unused data.
- Let subscribers transfer data to someone else on the same network.
- Limit operators’ ability to enable out-of-bundle data billing by default.
- Allow subscribers to opt into out-of-bundle billing.
To measure the impact of these regulatory changes, ICASA issued a questionnaire to gather feedback.
The questionnaire was divided into two sections: a set of questions for operators, and a set of questions for users.
MyBroadband converted ICASA’s questionnaire into an online survey that gathered consumer feedback. Ellipsis submitted the survey responses to ICASA on behalf of everyone who completed it.
To date, there have been 330 online questionnaires completed.
The survey is available at the following link: Bundle usage, data rollover, data transfer, and out-of-bundle billing questionnaire.
A snapshot of the results from MyBroadband’s survey is shown in the graphs below.
Primary mobile network
Out of the 330 responses received to-date, most said that they use one of the four major cellphone operators.
Three respondents said they used Afrihost as their primary cellular service provider, one said FNB Connect, and one said that they switch between three different operators depending on the prepaid deals they have available.
Did your operator automatically stop you from making calls when your voice minutes or voice bundle were finished?
Around 39% of respondents said that they do not know whether their operators automatically block them from making calls when their voice minutes or bundles were depleted.
23% of users said that they don’t know because they never finish their voice bundles, while 16% said that they were not aware of the feature to block out-of-bundle voice usage.
44% confirmed that they are blocked from out-of-bundle voice usage, while 17% said that they are not blocked.
Did your operator provide you with an option to opt-in to, or opt-out of, out-of-bundle data usage?
Similarly, around 37% of respondents said that they did not know about their operator’s option to enable or disable out-of-bundle data usage.
29% said that their operator does not give them the option to opt-in or opt-out of out-of-bundle data.
Of the 34% who said their operator does give them the option, the majority of them (76%) said they opt out.
Some of those who opt into out-of-bundle data said that they do so because they don’t want to be cut off from the Internet if they accidentally forget to load a new data bundle.
One user said that they enable out-of-bundle data, but put limits on their total out-of-bundle spend.
Thanks to Sumaiyah Makda from Ellipsis for making this happen.