Are mobile networks complying with Icasa's new data regulations?

New data rules introduced last month were supposed to give mobile users a break when it came to the cost of data.

The regulations allowed for a customer to transfer or rollover their unused data, instead of losing it after 30 days.

But Executive Director at Amandla.Mobi Koketso Moeti says mobile networks like Vodacom have set conditions around the rollover of data, charging consumers what she says is a levy to enable the rollover.

Moeti says its a way for mobile firms to sidestep the new rules despite the regulations being introduced to protect consumers.

Part of our big concern was an attempt to subvert the intentions of the regulations. [Vodacom] has set a condition which in essence is another levy, for example, if you want your data to roll over, you have to buy another bundle of the same size to enable this.

Koketso Moeti, Executive director - Amandla.Mobi

We have also seen that people are buying these small bundles on limited bundles and yet to enjoy the full benefits of the regulations you are expected to buy another bundle which is out of reach. We feel that it is a deliberate attempt to defeat the purposes of these regulations.

Koketso Moeti, Executive director - Amandla.Mobi

CEO at Strategy Works Consulting Steven Ambrose says mobile networks are required to make changes and abide by the new rules as soon as 12 April.

Right now if they are not rolling over, they are not technically in breach but I think morally they are in breach because they have always had a lot of time to get this right. I understand that in many cases it is complicated in terms of systems, billing and platforms....essentially if they were not ready by the 31st of March they were not going to be ready.

Steven Ambrose, CEO - Strategy Works Consulting

They are not in breach yet but they shortly will be if they don't do it.

Steven Ambrose, CEO - Strategy Works Consulting

Referring to attempts to get people to buy new bundles in order to qualify for the roll over, Ambrose says, unfortunately, the Icasa regulation was not specific on how the roll over was to be implemented.

Maybe two networks have done the right thing, in other words data automatically rolls over for an extended period whereas the other networks [Vodacom and MTN] insist on some form of purchase before you can roll it over, technically they are not in breach, they are allowing the roll over.

Steven Ambrose, CEO - Strategy Works Consulting

Ambrose is not confident that this can be challenged legally.

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