Final rules on data expiry expected to be in effect as early as October

The final regulations on the expiry of data bundles will be in place by the end of October, according to minister of of telecommunications and postal services, Siyabonga Cwele.

Minister Cwele was responding to a parliamentary question from the IFP’s Liezl van der Merwe, who wanted to know if the department had made any progress in the past 12 months to reduce the cost to communicate in South Africa, The Mercury reported.

“Initial interventions will ensure provisions to ensure that all segments of data bundles do not automatically expire after 30 days but have a cascading scale as proposed in Icasa’s draft regulations,” said Cwele.

“The final regulations will be in place by the end of October,” he said.

However speaking to The Mercury, Icasa would not commit to any deadline, saying it was still accepting submissions on the draft regulations.

“In terms of our processes we are receiving submissions from civil society, the operators and all interested parties, and the deadline for that is September 19. We have to analyse submissions and that could take some time,” Icasa spokesperson Paseka Maleka said.

In August this year, government and the regulator took it’s first major steps to regulate mobile data in South Africa, including a number of new laws that Vodacom, MTN, Cell C and Telkom will have to follow.

The biggest of these will address the cost of data as well as usage and out-of-bundle charges, but the amendments will also introduce changes to voice, SMS and education.

These include mandatory interval SMS’ when running out of data; the option to opt-in to out-of-bundle charges upon the deletion of data; education campaigns on data and smartphone usage; and prescribed periods during which data is not allowed to expire.

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

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Final rules on data expiry expected to be in effect as early as October