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New mobile data and SMS rules proposed for South Africa


The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) has published proposed amendments for mobile networks in South Africa which could see mobile data last significantly longer.

The proposed changes, which were gazetted by the regulator at the end of March 2022, aim to strengthen the provision of quality of service for electronic communication services, and to add new regulations on voice, SMS and data services, it said in an attached explanatory memorandum.

Some of the key changes include:

  • Unused data and data services obtained through either prepaid or contract will have an expiration date of six months, except for promotional packages.
  • Unused voice and SMS services obtained through either prepaid or contract will have an expiration date of six months, except for promotional packages.
  • A mobile operator shall use the oldest of any unused data first until that data is depleted, and only then use any newly allocated data.
  • In instances where the end-user is unable to utilise specific promotional voice/SMS products due to a network fault, the provider should compensate the end user appropriately, such as by giving a rebate or by extending the validity period.
  • The transfer of data must not be limited, with the exception of uncapped or free promotional bundled products, and applies to any SIM card or device on the same network, including SIM cards or devices owned by the same end-user, and exists without limit on the number of times that the end-user may transfer such data.
  • Icasa may, from time to time, order or direct mobile networks to issue consumer alerts on specific issues which they may deem relevant and necessary for the protection of end-users. Such directives may include, but are not limited to: fraudulent SIM swaps, fraudulent number porting, billing, public health warnings and public safety notifications, state of disaster/state of emergency notifications, or any other issues which affect consumers.


Read: 3 changes planned for WhatsApp



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