[8 January 2020] The date for responses (completion of the questionnaire and related submissions) for the regulatory impact assessment on the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations has been extended to 18 February 2020 (previously 28 January 2020).
[13 December 2019] Following numerous complaints relating to the manner in which these Regulations are being implemented, ICASA has given notice that it will undertake a regulatory impact assessment exercise to evaluate whether any further action is required.
To this end, ICASA has developed and published a notice and questionnaire to obtain information from all interested stakeholders including licensees, consumers and consumer groups, civil society organisations and other community-based organisations. Completed questionnaires and related submissions must be submitted to Leweng Mphahlele (email@example.com) by no later than 16h00 on 27 January 2020.
[3 March 2019] ICASA has delayed the implementation date for certain regulations relating to an option to opt-out of notification for depletion of voice, SMS and data services and the out-of-bundle usage requirements as per the First EUSSC Amendment Regulations 2019.
This is to allow licensees sufficient time to configure their systems and processes, with the extension being granted until 12 April 2019. The remaining provisions came into force on 1 March 2019, including those related to the transfer and rollover of unused data and the prohibition on defaulting of an end-user onto out of bundle charges upon the depletion of data bundles.
[13 February 2019] The End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations 2019 have been gazetted and will come into force on 1 March 2019.
[11 February 2019] Following further consultation with various licensees, ICASA will be making some minor changes to the regulations to bring clarity to issues raised.
- Usage notifications – licensees will be required to provide consumers with an option to opt-out of usage depletion notifications for voice, SMS and data services.
- Out-of-bundle billing – licensees will be required to provide consumers with an option to opt-in or opt-out of out-of-bundle data billing.
- Rollover of data – this provision remains unchanged.
- Transfer of data – replaced the word network with electronic communications licensee to avoid confusion.
[16 November 2018] ICASA, Cell C and MTN have reached a settlement, the terms of which indicate an implementation date for the EUSSC Amendment Regulations of 28 February 2019. The ICASA media statement can be found below.
[15 September 2018] It is now 100 days since the amendments were meant to come into force. The only reason consumers are still waiting for the relief which these amendments introduce is because ICASA decided to litigate rather than mitigate.
[6 September 2018] We are collecting the affidavits and other court process being filed in connection with Cell C’s application.
- 6 June 2018 – Cell C founding papers
- ICASA response [awaiting upload]
- 21 June 2018 – MTN intervene and respond
- Telkom intervene and respond [awaiting upload]
- 28 June 2018 – Cell C answering affidavit
- 19 July 2018 – ICASA answering affidavit to MTN & Telkom
- 2 August 2018 – MTN replying affidavit to ICASA
- 22 August 2018 – MTN supplementary founding affidavit in part B of MTN’s counter-application
- 6 September – Cell C answering affidavit in relation to MTN’s supplementary founding affidavit in the counter-application
- 29 September – Cell C combined affidavit – Supplementary affidavit in Part A & founding affidavit in Part B.
- 8 October – Cell C replying affidavit to the First and Second Respondent’s answering affidavit in relation to Part B.
- 11 October 2018 – MTN’s heads of argument
- 11 October 2018 – Cell C’s heads of argument
- 11 October 2018 – ICASA and 13 Others (case no.: 2018/20057) – Notice of Set Down
At this stage the issues have crystallised. ICASA is arguing that nobody made detailed submissions on the time period which would be required to comply with its amendment regulations: industry is responding that they could not make such submissions until the amendment regulations were finalised and they knew what they had to comply with.
[11 June 2018] See below for the postponement notice issued by ICASA.
[7 June 2018] Update – ICASA has decided that it will defend the application by Cell C and to this end, has resolved to postpone the effective date until the matter has been heard and pronounced upon by the Court. During this intervening period licensees will not be penalised for non-compliance.
Cell C have filed an urgent application for the implementation of the Amendment Regulations to be suspended for six months (or a reasonable period to be determined in consultation with licensees).
[9 May 2018] The End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations 2018 have been gazetted and will come into force on 8 June 2018.
[5 May 2018] The regulations below will come into force 30 calendar days after publication in the Government Gazette.
[26 April 2018] ICASA has released a media statement on the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations, indicating that the final Regulations will be published in a matter of days, and highlighted the following matters of particular relevance to consumers as raised throughout the review process:
- Usage notifications – all licensees are required to send usage depletion notifications to consumers when their usage is at 50%, 80% and 100% depletion levels. This will enable consumers to monitor their usage and control spend on communication services.
- Rollover of data – all licensees are required to provide an option to consumers to rollover unused data. This is to ensure that consumers do not lose unused data as is the current practice.
- Transfer of data – all licensees are required to provide an option to consumers to transfer data to other users on the same network.
- Out–of-bundle billing – all licensees are no longer allowed to charge consumers out-of-bundle rates for data when their data has run out without the consumers’ specific prior consent. This will ensure that consumers are not defaulted to out-of-bundle data charges which are significantly higher than in-bundle charges.
[26 February 2018] ICASA has released the schedule of the public hearings to be held on 1 and 2 March 2018:
[20 February 2018] ICASA intends to hold public hearings in respect of the submissions received in response to the second round of draft Regulations on 1 and 2 March 2018 at the ICASA head office in Sandton. Members of the public are encouraged to participate due to the prevailing concerns regarding high data costs, data expiry and out-of-bundle rules.
[18 January 2018] Below are links to various submissions made in response to the publication of the second round of draft Regulations.
- Cell C
- Crystal Web Mobile & LEASP
- Free Market Foundation
- Liquid Telecom
- Mark Lister
- National Consumer Commission
[17 November 2017] ICASA has published a second round of draft amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations 2016 for public comment, accompanied by an explanatory note setting out changes made and the reasons therefore.
Submissions are due by 16h00 on 3 January 2018 (smh…). These may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org for the attention the Chairperson: Priority Markets and Data Services Committee. ICASA plans to hold public hearings on the matter from 7 – 9 February 2018 and aims to promulgate final regulations by 31 March 2017.
The second draft follows the publication of a first draft amendment on 7 August 2017, with ICASA deciding to publish the second draft based on comments received. An accompanying media release notes the following “key interventions”:
- Expiry of data – all licensees are required to provide prepaid data bundles with minimum expiry period of three (3) years, save where such prepaid data bundles have been exhausted prior to the expiry of three (3) years.
- Out of bundle billing – licensees are required to send usage notifications for data depletion to end-users, and the intervals must show 50%, 75%, 90% and 100% service depletion. The notification must be through an SMS, push notification or any other applicable means.
- Rollover of unused minutes and/or data – where a network provider is required to provide an option to post-paid users to roll over unused monthly data allocation to the next billing period or to transfer the monthly data allocation or a portion thereof to another end-user on the same network.
- End-users must be given an option to opt-in or opt-out of being charged out of bundle data rates to avoid bill shock.
[8 August 2017] ICASA has published draft amendments to the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations 2016. These amendments are generally pro-consumer and seek to make the following changes to current practices:
- Voice and SMS services: Notifications of service depletion to be sent to the end-user at set intervals and provision for end-users on post-paid / hybrid plans to purchase additional services upon such depletion.
- Data services: Notifications of service depletion to be sent to the end-user at set intervals and provision for end-users to opt-in or out of out-of-bundle charges. The expiry of data bundles is to be linked to the bundle size, from 10 days for 1-50 MB (less than the current norm of 30 days) to 24 months for 20 GB and up as well as allowance for the roll-over of unused data when an end-user recharges prior to the expiry date.
- Consumer awareness: Quarterly campaigns to be conducted by licensees seeking to educate end-users on the use of smart phones, use of data and provision of information on the broad range of products and services offered.
The most significant effects of the proposed changes are the elimination of unexpected out-of-bundle data charges and improvements to the validity periods of purchased data bundles, two issues that have proven quite bothersome to the average consumer.
Interested parties are invited to submit written comments on the draft Regulations and can be directed to Mr Gumani Malebusha (email@example.com) by 16h00 on 19 September 2017.
[3 April 2016] Final regulations have been published.
[22 October 2015] ICASA has withdrawn the draft published on 9 October 2015 and published a new version.
The new closing date for submissions is 16h00 on Wednesday 2 December 2015.
[9 October 2015] ICASA have picked this process up again, publishing another draft set of regulations incorporating feedback received from the written submissions received and workshop conduct in July last year.
ICASA has invited interested parties to submit written comments on the draft. These may be submitted to Mr Gumani Malebusha (firstname.lastname@example.org / email@example.com /tel 011 566 3423) by 16h00 on 20 November 2015.
[14 July 2014] ICASA have decided to forego public hearings in favour of a workshop with interested stakeholders on the basis that this “is likely to better achieve the objectives of effective consumer protection”. The workshop is scheduled for 09h30 to 16h00 on Wednesday 23 July 2014 and will be held at ICASA (Block C).
ICASA has invited those attending to address these key areas in a 5-10 minute presentation:
- what in your view would be the best way to address the regulation of quality of service in the existing licensing framework with network and service licences?
- what methodology would you employ, including the parameters that ought to be addressed in your view?
If you intend to make a presentation you are required to notify Mr Gumani Malebusha, firstname.lastname@example.org / 011 566 3243.
Below are links to various submissions made in response to the publication of the draft Regulations of February 2014.
- Broadband Infraco
- Cell C
- Disability Consultative Forum
[27 February 2014] ICASA have extended the deadline for submissions to 16h00 on 14 March 2014.
[23 January 2014] ICASA has published what appears to be a comprehensive review of the End-user and Subscriber Service Charter 2009 in draft format for comment.
Comment due by 21 February 2014.