amandla.mobi welcomes the settlement reached between ICASA and the cell phone companies at the Johannesburg High Court today. This means that from 28 February in 2019, new regulations will take effect. This means that consumers will not lose unused data and airtime will last longer as consumers will be notified when their bundle runs out, and have the choice to opt in to out of bundle rates.
Millions of South Africans, especially the poor, would have benefited from this regulations 5 months ago, but cellular providers such as MTN launched legal action which stalled these pro-poor ICASA regulations.
The ICASA regulations state that the cell phone companies should stop charging out-of-bundle rates without our consent, inform us when our data bundle runs out and allow us to transfer data to each other, if we are using the same network provider. After the settlement reached in the Johannesburg High Court today between ICASA and the cell phone companies, it was agreed that the regulations will be implemented on February 28 2019.
“amandla.mobi is glad that the cell phone companies have come to their senses and agreed on an implementation date for the ICASA regulations. We note however that there really is no good reason for the companies to have stalled the implementation, with their legal interdicts,” says amandla spokesperson Heather Robertson. She added “We hope that MTN and the other cell phone companies do their best to implement these regulations and put people before profits.”
Researchers have found that South Africa has the second most expensive data costs among BRICS countries. Research by Indra de Lanerolle, Director at Wits University’s JAMLAB, showed that mobile data prices would have to fall by 50% be affordable.
44,387 amandla.mobi members signed the #DataMustFall campaign, and took other actions such as making public submissions to ICASA and the Competition Commission, organising communities and protesting. They are fed up with being ripped off by cell-phone companies who are refusing to simply inform them when their data runs out. amandl.mobi members staged a protest outside the Johannesburg High court on Thursday morning at 10am.
The campaign to get the MTN CEO, to drop legal action against ICASA can be found at: https://awethu.amandla.mobi/petitions/mtn-stop-stalling-datamustfall
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