Vodacom will implement Icasa’s new data expiry rules by the end of the week, meeting the deadline of 28 February set by the communications regulator.
Cell C and Telkom have already implemented the end-user service charter regulations, with MTN and Vodacom expected to be fully compliant in time for the deadline.
Vodacom has now explained how the regulations will be implemented by the company.
The new 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.
Vodacom said that from 1 March, the default setting will be that customers will have their data sessions terminated as soon as they are out of bundle. “To continue using data, there are a number of options, including purchasing a new bundle or opting out of the block setting,” it said.
Other options available to customers on the Vodacom network include setting a higher data limit and opting into the company’s “data refill” service. The refill service will ensure all customers (prepaid, hybrid and post-paid) never go out of bundle as it auto-allocates a “safety bundle” in the event their data is depleted.
“This function will enable them to enjoy an effective out-of-bundle rate. The safety bundle rate will depend on the customers package/tariff plan,” it explained.
When it comes to data rollover, TechCentral reported first on Monday that Vodacom will charge customers to roll over unused data. “All Vodacom customers will have the option to extend their data bundle using the rollover service at a set fee depending on the size of the bundle they wish to roll over,” Vodacom said.
“Additionally, customers are able to roll over existing data bundles through the purchase of another bundle of the same size and validity of their existing data bundle.”
Transfer of data
Vodacom customers will be able to transfer data that is about to expire to friends and family on the Vodacom network, too, in line with the regulations. “Closer to the expiration date of the data, customers can dial the USSD string to transfer their data over to a friend or a family member after paying a fee.”
Asked by TechCentral what “closer to the expiration date” means, Vodacom said: “Hourly and daily bundles can be transferred over immediately. All other data bundles with validities greater than 24 hours can be transferred when there are three days or less remaining.” It did not say what the fee will be.
Customers using Vodacom currently receive data usage notifications at 50%, 80%, 95% and 100% intervals. The Icasa regulations make it mandatory to send data usage notifications at 50%, 80% and 100% intervals.
“In accordance with the regulations, customers must have the ability to opt out of usage notifications. We are currently working on a solution to give customers the option to opt out as stipulated in the amended regulations published on 12 February 2019.” — (c) 2019 NewsCentral Media