Mobile operator Cell C has gone to court to seek an urgent interdict against Icasa, saying the communications regulator has not given it sufficient time to implement new data expiry rules meant to protect consumers.
The rules, known as the end-user and subscriber services charter regulation amendments, were published on 7 May, with operators given one month to comply.
“Prior to publication, Cell C advised the regulator that while it was fully committed to complying with the regulations, it was impossible to meet the proposed timeline,” the company said in a statement on Thursday.
“Despite this, Icasa issued the regulations with the one-month timeframe still included, this while the process leading up to the publication of the regulations took almost 14 months to be concluded.”
Cell C said that although it raised its concerns on “numerous occasions” and has written to Icasa to ask for an extension, it has not received any response.
“All of this leaves Cell C no choice but to turn to the courts to intervene as Icasa’s failure to respond could have serious consequences for Cell C, the industry and, more importantly, the consumer,” it said in the statement.
“As such, Cell C has reluctantly applied for an urgent interdict at the high court in a bid to procure a reasonable timeline for implementation of the regulations.”
The operator reiterated that it is “fully committed” to implementing the new regulations and has “tried its utmost to meet the unreasonable deadline”.
It said that although it already complies with some of the requirements of the regulations, to implement them fully across its entire product suite “intensive development and numerous system changes will need to be made followed by rigorous testing before Cell C can offer this to its customers”.
It is “technically not able” to meet Icasa’s deadline, it said.
“Cell C’s billing and other technical platforms are highly complex and rely on one another to operate effectively, which means that a change in one system often results in changes being required in other systems. Furthermore, changes to the billing system require a cycle of development to ensure rigorous governance and control measures are met. Cell C would be surprised if any of the mobile operators will be fully compliant by Friday’s deadline.”
Telkom and MTN have also reportedly voiced their concerns about the deadline.
Cell C said that it needs at least six months to comply fully.
Asked to comment, Icasa said it will issue a statement later on Thursday. — (c) 2018 NewsCentral Media