Consumer Commission says mobile data should already last for 3 years – not just 30 days

Following Icasa’s first major step into regulating high data prices in South Africa, another governmental body – the National Consumer Commission (NCC) – has indicated that data bundles in South Africa should currently legally last for at least three years.

Among other changes, Icasa’s draft regulations propose an option to roll-over unused data, notification messages when data is being depleted at out-of-bundle rates as well as a a notification message when you are using data at out-of-bundle rates.

However, the regulations are not consistent with the Consumer Protection Act, said NCC spokesperson Trevor Hattingh, speaking to Fin24.

“The NCC wishes to state for the record that although it is part of a task team together with Icasa that are working on the data expiry and out of bundle data cost, it was not consulted by Icasa when it drafted the regulations.”

Hattingh cited Section 63 of the Act which deals with prepaid certificates, credits and vouchers.

It states that a prepaid certificate, card, credit, voucher or similar device does not expire earlier than “the date on which its full value has been redeemed in exchange for goods or services or future access to services” or “three years after the date on which it was issued, or at the end of a longer or extended period agreed by the supplier at any time”.

“It is for this reason that I stated below that the NCC will be making comments to Icasa on its views, and that the NCC will not sell consumers out on what they are legally entitled to,” he said.

“It will be up to Icasa to either accept or reject our comments.”

The public has until September 19 to submit comments on the regulations.

Read: Major new data, voice and SMS laws that you need to know about

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Consumer Commission says mobile data should already last for 3 years – not just 30 days