Vodacom will actively participate in the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa’s (Icasa) consultation process on the draft regulations regarding data expiry periods and out-of-bundle billing.
Vodacom told Fin24 that it was committed to the process of drafting new regulations, after the communications regulator stepped into the going feud between consumers and networks over the high cost of data.
“Vodacom is aware of the draft regulation gazetted by Icasa regarding data expiry periods and out-of-bundle billing,” a company spokesperson told Fin24 this week.
“Vodacom is committed to bringing down data prices and has brought down effective data pricing by 44% over the last three years.
“Through the likes of Just4You, which offers customers hourly, daily, weekly and monthly bundles, Vodacom has made significant inroads in recent years in its pricing transformation journey,” the spokesperson said.
The latest step by Icasa to join the #DataMustFall campaign was aimed at regulating data expiry dates, according to a notice published in the Government Gazette on Monday.
Icasa intends to encourage networks to extend the validity of data bundles.
“With regard to out-of-bundle billing, Vodacom reiterates its position on this matter in that it remains fully committed to addressing these and has already started to implement its plans,” Vodacom told Fin24.
“We remain committed to consulting with the regulator in our shared quest to continuously address customer needs and improve the customer experience,” the company added.
The public has until September 19 to submit comment.
Prior to the recommendation, the regulator announced it would hold an inquiry to try reduce high data costs. This inquiry will be conducted over four phases and completed in March 2018.
These phases include a market study, discussion document, public hearings, and findings document. Members of the public would have 45 days to submit comments following each phase, News24 reported.
By Kyle Venktess for Fin24
The hashtag #datamustfall is currently trending on Twitter where people are calling for an end to high data prices.
Consumers have once again become fed up with the high cost of mobile data in South Africa.
Apart from the cost of data, users are also complaining that cellular providers should not be able to set “expiry” dates on data – and that once purchased, data should be the users’ to keep.
A recent Facebook post on the matter went viral when it was shared over 7 500 times, sparking a resurgence in the anger towards SA’s main providers: Cell C, MTN, Vodacom and Telkom.
The questions consumers are now asking revolve around whether this is tantamount to theft, and what impact it has on the country’s small businesses – and the poorest sections of society.
Poet and activist Ntsiki Mazwai has called on South Africans to boycott all social media platforms from midnight.
The social media blackout campaign has the following aims:
“The social media blackout is a campaign that is aimed at lowering data prices. Data costs are obscene and are not affordable for people on the ground. We want to bring attention to this issue; we want to engage government and cellular network companies.”
Mazwai says that from midnight people should log off social media.
“We don’t buy data for 24 hours, we will meet back on social media the following day to discuss the way forward. Why should data expire after 30 days when you’ve paid for it?”
She has encouraged people to take part in the campaign because it is too expensive to access information.
“We keep talking about #feesmustfall but how must students access information or hand in assignments if data costs are so high? This has a negative impact on entrepreneurs and our families because we can’t communicate with them.”
Mazwai has further called on the country to unify for a good cause.
Refilwe Pitjeng for EWN; My Office News
Copiers can retain sensitive data on their built-in hard drives. The security risks associated with this are great. Copier Secrets, one of the topics covered on Carte Blanche on 30 August, caused a stir on social media platforms as people expressed alarm at the idea of their data and secrets being stolen and used for nefarious purposes.
Vodacom announced last week that it will increase the subscription fees of selected contract price plans on 1 May 2015.