Imagine subscribing for unlimited data bundle like that of Ntel which will be valid for 3 years. Guess such network operator will close its shop. The National Consumer Commission (NCC) has stated explicitly that data bundles in South Africa must have a minimum expiry period of three years.
In Nigeria, recall that in September last year, NCC (Nigerian Communication Commission) directed all telecom operators in the country to extend the 30-day data expiry by 14 days. This simply means that if you purchase 1.5GB data meant to expire in 30 days’ time, it will rather spend 44 days before it expires and that is if you still manage to have some left.
However, the South African NCC (though not the same meaning as that of Nigeria) wants subscribers data plan to spend a whopping 3 years before expiring. Spectacular! One wonders what kind of data plan they are actually talking about because even 1 Terabyte can be exhausted before such grace period elapse.
It was speaking at a public hearing on draft regulations that are being proposed for data expiry and out-of-bundle billing.
ICASA published the draft End-User and Subscriber Service Charter regulations for comment in 2017.
The NCC added it has not tried to enforce the part of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) dealing with prepaid vouchers and credit on data bundles.
This is because the telecommunications industry is regulated by ICASA, and under the Act, the NCC is required to work with the sector regulator.
“Our legislation is about five to six years old now, and our enforcement strategy has always first been one of persuasion,” said the NCC.
“We are aware of the effect of starting a war or fight with industry.”
Partakers at the hearing said the matter would end up in court anyway, to which the NCC accepted a suggestion that it should seek a High Court ruling on this legislation before it is implemented in regulation.