As data rules deadline looms, MTN begins implementation - TechCentral

As data rules deadline looms, MTN begins implementation

With a little over two months left for South Africa’s telecommunications operators to implement Icasa’s new data-expiry rules, MTN said on Monday that it has begun complying with the first phase of the regulations.

Last month, Telkom became the first mobile operator in South Africa to comply fully with the rules. All operators must implement them fully before the end of February 2019.

MTN customers will now receive notifications when they have used 50%, 80% and 100% of their monthly data bundle or inclusive data, the company said.

“This allows customers to keep track of their usage and spend, and to recharge when they need to, and it is applicable to both prepaid and post-paid customers,” MTN said.

“Over the past weeks we have worked around the clock to do extensive system changes to comply with the requirements of the new regulations. We are pleased that we have successfully taken a step towards complying with the new regulations, which will go a long way towards improving customer experience and helping customers to manage their data spend.”

In November, Telkom said it had complied fully with the regulations. Its mobile customers can now transfer data to other users and roll over unused data.

Settlement

Earlier in November, Cell C and MTN reached a settlement with Icasa that would allow them until 28 February 2019 to implement the new rules.

Cell C filed an urgent application at the high court in Johannesburg against Icasa, arguing that the deadline Icasa had given it, namely 8 June 2018, was too tight and that it would take it at least six months to comply. MTN South Africa joined the application.

The regulations, which deal with data expiry and out-of-bundle rules, are meant to protect consumers from high charges. They were published on 7 May, with operators given one month to comply.

Specifically, the amended regulations state that operators must:

  • Offer data rollover to customers, though Icasa has left to the companies to determine how long that period of rollover should be;
  • Send usage depletion notifications to consumers once they have used 50%, 80% and 100% of their bundles;
  • Ensure that out-of-bundle data is explicitly opt-in only — consumers must not automatically be defaulted to out-of-bundle rates when their bundles are depleted; and
  • Provide an option to offer unused data to other users on the same network.  — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media

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