ICASA has delayed the implementation date for certain regulations relating to an option to opt-out of notification for depletion of voice, SMS and data services and the out-of-bundle usage requirements for the end user. D-day is 12 April 2019, to allow the carriers time to configure their systems and processes. Rollover of unused data, data transfer and defaulting onto out of bundle charges regulations came into force on March 2019. Read more on this subject by Paul Colmer
So This is Good News for the End User, Yes?
It’s been a long road since Cell C first threw a spanner in the works and went for an application of delay and there have been numerous applications from all the players in the game but now we are there. The real basics of the Charter are that:
- Unused data can be rolled over.
- Data can be transferred to another user on the same network.
- No more switching to out of bundle rates unless you opt in.
- Depletion notices to be sent out at 50, 80 and 100%.
It is sad that originally on the table was data not expiring for three years but now it sits in a position where data will still expire but can be rolled over or transferred to another user. The time frame of how long the data will last varies between networks. They all seem to be compliant with out of bundle rate not switching automatically. This to me is just plain theft. So here is some research on how each network is complying or maybe circumventing the EUSSC.
Vodacom hit the news with the announcement of charging for data rollover at up to a whopping R45 and that short-duration data bundles will also attract additional charges for rollover. All hourly bundles will be rolled over at a cost of R10, while all daily bundles will attract a rollover fee of R25. Prepaid bundles will only rollover if a bundle of the same size is purchased within the same month.
Under extreme pressure from social media and public outcry, they have since retracted this. Vodacom has also said that it will not charge customers to transfer data to other users on its network, provided the amount to be transferred is 50 MB or less. A schedule of fees will apply to larger transfers, up to a maximum of R20 for 1 GB. Top Up customers may not use any of the credit they receive on the first of every month to transfer a bundle. Top Up customers are able to transfer a bundle up to the value of 80% of all recharges made above the airtime credit received on the first of every month.
MTN rollover for free but here’s the catch: all you have to do is ensure that you auto-renew your data subscription before it expires and your unused data is automatically moved to the next month. Note that data rollover feature is only applicable to monthly plans.
According to the company, contract customers can already roll over data up until two months of the date of purchase and prepaid costumers’ data bundles will be rolled over, as long as the customer buys another bundle before the existing one expires.
MTN seem to be compliant with data transfer but say it’s not available on SKY packages as the uncapped, well FUP me, and that’s exactly what they do and throttle you to death. So it’s far from uncapped, but no transfer is allowed before or after the FUP. MTN recently said that there will be a price increase for all post-paid clients while still on contract, so they are moving the goal posts while you are still in a contract. Maybe money is tight, as the CEO apparently earned R42 million last year.
Cell C stated that data for contract customers will roll over to the next month, for a maximum period of two months. The oldest data will be used first, to ensure that the current month’s data can be rolled over to the next month. After two months has passed, users will have the option to extend unused data at a cost which is yet to be released.
However, the company noted that 500 MB is the maximum amount which can be rolled over after two months. For prepaid customers, recurring data bundles will roll over to the next month at no additional cost. For larger bundles, a nominal fee is payable for the additional time. Data about to expire can be extended from 1, 7 and 30 days at a cost.
Data bundles are valid for up to two months. Bundles are valid from date of activation until the end of the next month. The 20 GB bundle, however, is valid for 6 months, and the 50 GB and 100 GB bundles are valid for 12 months from date of activation. Telkom was pretty much compliant before 1 March and is the carrier that is conforming the most to the spirit of the EUSSC.
The common thread here is that they are trying to keep data rollover terms short, charge you to extend expiring data and charge for the transfer of medium to large data bundles. The fact that you have to have recurring data bundles or purchase bundles of similar size somewhat defeats the point of rollover. Many definitions exist of what is data that can roll over or be transferred and how much and how often. My personal opinion is that they are not conforming to the spirit of the EUSSC but finding every way possible to circumvent its intention of being in the favour of the end user and not the carrier.