Probe launched into contract price hikes - TechCentral

Probe launched into contract price hikes



The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has launched a full-scale investigation into mobile networks’ price increases for contract subscribers.

Major networks Vodacom and MTN announced increases to cellular contract tariffs earlier this year, while Cell C also announced contract price hikes in December 2014.

Subsequently, the NCC said it has received 32 complaints from consumers who felt that networks were acting unfairly when increasing prices in the middle of contract periods.

The NCC then launched an inquiry to study each complaint and requested information about general mobile network practices from the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa.

“The NCC has, after receiving all requested information and after assessing all complaints in respect of the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act and its regulations, concluded that a reasonable basis exists to institute a full-scale investigation,” NCC spokesman Trevor Hattingh said.

The probe is expected to be completed in 12 months and will specifically study the “compliance of contract terms and conditions of cellphone service providers”, Hattingh said.

“As such we will audit the terms and conditions of mobile network service providers in relation to the provisions of the Consumer Protection Act and its regulations,” he said.

He said that in 2012 the NCC conducted an audit on all cellphone networks, which resulted in them bringing their terms and conditions to a 99% compliance rate.

South Africa’s two biggest network providers have alluded to rising costs as grounds for contract price hikes.

MTN pinned its price increases on rising mobile termination rates, increased network investments, transport costs, handset price increases, falling exchange rates and higher taxes.

In March, Vodacom said that its increased network upgrade spend meant that its investment per subscriber has grown from R218/customer in 2013-2014 to R269/customer in 2014-2015.

Falling mobile termination rates also resulted in Vodacom being hurt by a R2bn service revenue knock for the financial year ended March 2015.  — Fin24


  1. About time, I really hope the consumer will be the winner at the outcome of this investiagtion

  2. Andrew Fraser on

    12 Months. To investigate something that they have all the documentation for already.

    I want that job.

  3. William Stucke on

    > MTN pinned its price increases on RISING mobile termination rates

    Really? This after taking ICASA to court for REDUCING mobile termination rates?

    > Falling mobile termination rates also resulted in Vodacom
    So, let’s take a guess at who’s lying – either that or a serious typo in this article!

  4. The Emperor has no clothes... on

    About 2 weeks to do the investigation and the remaining 50 weeks to draft a report indicating the reasons why there is nothing wrong with the current pricing. In fact we will probably find out that our rates are too low and we should be paying more. The section in which we ensure that no-one is to blame will be very complex as they will need to find a whole bunch of struggle buddies to absolve of any responsibility, even though they weren’t even involved. And I suspect it was Apartheid’s fault – presumably the Nokia 1 that Jan Van Riebeck used on his voyage.

  5. The Emperor has no clothes... on

    MTN & Vodacom are, as usual, taking us for fools. And we will simply continue to accept poor service and pay. It’s the South African way…

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