Vodacom will comply with communications regulator Icasa’s new data expiry rules from this week, but the country’s largest mobile operator has said it will charge users to roll over their unused data.
The company’s website reveals that it will now charge users as much as R49 to roll over their data bundles.
Different fees will apply to users, depending on the size of the bundle remaining. The rollover of data bundles with a validity greater than one day will attract the following charges, Vodacom said:
- Bundle size remaining less than 100MB — R5
- Bundle size remaining 100MB up to 250MB — R12
- Bundle size remaining 250MB to 500MB — R19
- Bundle size remaining 500MB to 1GB — R29
- Bundle size remaining over 1GB — R49
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.
The charge for the rollover service is added to a prepaid or hybrid customer’s recharge airtime account. The charge for the rollover service will be added to a post-paid customer’s bill.
Customers are able to roll over their remaining data in the following cases: data bundles with validity of 24 hours or less are applicable for roll over immediately and data bundles with validity greater than 24 hours are applicable for rollover when there are three days or less remaining for bundle usage.
All hourly bundles can be rolled over for an additional hour, while all daily bundles can be rolled over for an additional day. All weekend bundles (data bundles valid for use only on Saturday and Sunday) can be rolled over for an additional weekend. All data bundles with a validity greater than 24 hours can be rolled over for an additional seven days only. Data bundles can be rolled over multiple times.
Vodacom spokesman Byron Kennedy said later, however, that Vodacom is reviewing the pricing — hinting that the numbers published on its website might change. The company “will communicate this on the planned launch date of 1 March”, he said. (The company removed the list of fees from its website after TechCentral published this article.)
What the regulations say
The new data expiry rules, which form part of Icasa’s end-user subscriber service charter 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.
Telkom and Cell C have already implemented the new regulations fully, while MTN and Vodacom are in the process of finalising their implementations. They have until this Thursday, 28 February, to do so.
For its part, Telkom simply implemented data rollover at no cost, with varying levels of benefit to consumers depending on the package they’re on.
Cell C, meanwhile, allows customers to extend the validity date of their data, ensuring any remaining balance is not forfeited. The service allows Cell C customers to extend their data by one, seven or 30 days at a time. Customers with 100MB or less remaining will be able to roll over their data free for between an additional one and seven days, while customers that roll over between 101MB and 500MB of data can roll over free for an additional day. For larger bundle balances and extensions, Cell C customers will pay a “nominal fee” to roll over their data.
A Cell C spokeswoman said it’s important to keep in mind that the fees Cell C charges are an additional mechanism over and above the extended validity the operator already has for its inclusive contract and prepaid data and bundles (from two months through to 365-day validity periods).
She explained, by way of example, that a customer who has a 30-day 1GB bundle and has 763MB remaining which expires at midnight the next day has the following options: one-day day rollover at a cost of R7.63; seven-day rollover at a cost of R15.26; and 30-day rollover at a cost of R22.89. “In this instance, the customer is saving about 70% of the cost of a new bundle (which normally costs R80 for a 750MB data bundle).” — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media