ICASA’s draft regulations are a positive step to transparency and fairness in data pricing

A positive step to promote digital inclusion of all South Africans.

The IAB South Africa (IAB SA) welcomes the Independent Communications Association of South Africa (ICASA)’s market inquiry into data costs in South Africa as well as proposed amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations (Regulations), particularly the extent to which the regulations promote transparency and fairness in data charges.

All drives to reduce data costs not only ensure that our members’ industry sectors continue to thrive and contribute to South Africa’s economy, but also empowers more South Africans to access information, news and educational resources.  Ultimately, we believe that reducing high data costs and costs to communicate in general will ensure that all South Africans enjoy the socio-economic benefits of increased internet usage.

In particular, we welcome the service provider obligations such as:

  • ensuring the end-user can opt-out of out-of-bundle charges when their data bundle is depleted,
  • a duty to refrain from automatically applying out of bundle data charges on an end-user whose data bundle has depleted, and
  • mandatory notifications of data depletion.

Included in the regulations are obligations to ensure minimum duration for data bundles before expiry. 50 megabyte (MB) data bundles should last at least 10 days and 10 gigabyte (GB) data bundles should last at least 12 months.

Overall, the draft regulations do well to bring greater transparency to data charges and promote fairness in the structuring of data bundles. This should allow end users to have better control over their data costs.

The IAB SA looks forward to further consultation with ICASA and other stakeholders to lower data costs in South Africa and ensure the continued growth of the digital industry in our market.

PRIA CHETTY
REGULATORY AFFAIRS COUNCIL