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Your data bundles could soon last longer – if Icasa has its way



Icasa’s latest draft amendments aim to apply the same rules to all mobile service bundles.

If the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has its way, some of your mobile bundle struggles could be a thing of the past.

Icasa published further draft amendments to its 2016 End-user and Subscriber Service Charter (EUSSC) regulations for public comment – on Friday.

Most notably, the proposed amendments seek to treat all mobile service bundles the same way, which means the same rules would apply to data, voice, SMS and OTT bundles.

Here’s how your mobile life could potentially change if the draft amendments are enforced.

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Longer-lasting bundles

Medium-term bundles, which currently have a duration of seven to 30 days, would have a slightly longer lifespan. Mobile service providers will be required to extend half of any unused bundle for the same validity period.

Furthermore, the draft amendments propose that an unused portion of any bundle be rolled-over twice.

Meanwhile, 25% of bundles with a duration of more than 30 days would also be rolled-over for an equivalent validity period – however any used portion of these bundles may only be extended once.

According to the draft amendments, the roll-over of bundles must occur without requiring any action and without incurring any cost to the end-user.

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Sharing is caring

Currently, mobile bundles are not transferable. Icasa seeks to change this, proposing an option to transfer bundles or portions thereof to any user within the same network.

Furthermore, Icasa proposed that the same bundle conditions including expiry, roll-over and transfer, must also apply to the transferred bundle or portions thereof.

“The transfer of bundles in terms of sub-regulation (9) must not be limited to specific service types, with the exception of uncapped, free or promotional bundles,

“… and applies to any SIM card or device on the same network, including SIM cards or devices owned by the same end-user, and exists without limit on the number of times that the end-user may transfer such bundles,” the draft amendments say.

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A win for everyone

Icasa said the proposed amendments aim to improve and strengthen consumer provisions with the Charter, while striking a careful balance between the interests of consumers and the need for a dynamic and effective market for bundles.

“We believe that the new draft amendments to these sections of End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations will now strike the appropriate regulatory balance,” said committee chairperson Cllr Charley Lewis.

“The vibrant market for low-denomination, short-term bundles will be allowed to flourish.

“But, on the other hand, consumers of longer-duration, larger-denomination bundles will not be unduly disadvantaged given the firm, clear guidelines we are proposing for the roll-over or transfer of portions of what they have purchased in good faith,” Lewis explained.

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