South Africa: ICASA must extend deadline to implement new data rules – Networks

Telkom and Cell C have requested that ICASA extend its deadline to implement new regulations governing out-of-bundle billing and data rollover.

ICASA published its amended End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations on 7 May 2018, and gave service providers 30 days to comply with the new rules.

The implementation deadline is therefore this week – 7 June 2018.

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

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

While Cell C and Telkom fully intend to comply with the regulations, they said the deadline is too short.

Telkom – 3-month extension

“Aligned with our objective of continually improving our customer experience, we intend to offer products and services which meet the requirements of the regulations,” a Telkom spokesperson told MyBroadband.

“Telkom is making every effort to ensure that we meet these requirements and that we are able to effect the necessary changes on our current products. To this end, we have requested a three-month extension from ICASA in order to be in a position to comply with the regulations.”

Cell C – 6-month extension

Cell C said it is committed to complying with the regulations, but ICASA’s timeline for implementation is unrealistic.

“We estimate that a minimum period of six months is required for Cell C to fully implement the changes required,” said Cell C.

“To this effect, Cell C has written to ICASA to request an extension in this regard.”

MTN – Extension needed

MTN said it has also asked ICASA for an extension, after telling the regulator three months ago that more time was needed.

“At the time, MTN asked for a reasonable amount of time to bring about the extensive system changes that the amendments would require,” MTN told MyBroadband.

MTN said it has worked hard over the past month to implement the new requirements, but there were numerous unintended consequences which ICASA did not foresee.

For example, MTN has to determine whether it sends subscribers depletion notifications for every bundle type it offers. It has recurring, ad hoc, and promotional bundles, as well as inclusive value to consider across voice, data, and SMS services.

It is also uncertain whether ICASA envisioned that operators should send 50%, 80%, and 100% depletion notifications on a time-based bundle that is valid for an hour.

Building an opt-in system for out-of-bundle data is also proving challenging, with respect to corporate clients with Internet of Things and telemetry applications, said MTN.

It is confident it can build a system to accommodate data rollover, but the transfer of data will require further development.

“We have a large team pursuing, designing, and developing solutions to implement these amendments – however, it is clear more time will be required.”

Due consideration needs to be given to the complex nature of these changes and related implementations, added MTN.

Vodacom – Competitive information

Vodacom declined to disclose information regarding whether it has applied to ICASA for an extension, or whether it will implement the required changes by the deadline.

However, Vodacom CEO Shameel Joosub previously said they will implement the data rollover and transfer requirements.

“We are working through all the technical implications of the changes required and finding the best possible way to implement them on our network,” said Joosub.

Source: My Broadband