South Africans were on the edge of their seats on Thursday morning, awaiting a decision by the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa's (Icasa) that they hoped would introduce lower data costs.
Don't keep us waiting #Icasa— #DA REAL KGOPS (@Seikaneng932) April 26, 2018
The regulator, however, says it has not been able to reach a conclusion on the matter of lower pricing yet.
This might be disappointing, but there were still some wins for consumers. Here are five things that you need to know about Icasa's announcement:
1. Usage notifications: users will no longer be informed about their balance when they no longer have data. The regulator expects mobile networks to send alerts to consumers when depletion is at 50 percent, 80 percent and 100 percent.
2. Rollover of data: you no longer have to make sure that you have used all your data before its expiry date. Consumers will now have the option to roll over their data if they have not used it up.
3. Transfer of data: there is no reason why your friends and family cannot help you out once you do not have data, because Icasa says networks will now have to make data transferable if you are on the same network.
4. Out-of-bundle billing: cellphone networks no longer have the right to use your airtime once your data is depleted.
5. A month after the new regulations have been published in the Government Gazette, network providers will be expected to have the changes incorporated.
Icasa says a decrease in prices requires a more in-depth and detailed analysis, so South Africa will have to wait a few more months.
#ICASA the 1st step of the three phases is to stop "bill shock". At this point in time it is more about dealing with out-of-bundle rates and expiring of data. But we have deliberately stayed away from dealing with prices at the moment until the 2nd or 3rd phase is complete.— Michael (@TheMikeAppel) April 26, 2018
The regulator earlier held a critical-thinking forum themed "Conversation On Voice And Data Costs" to debate the plight of consumers and discuss measures to make the cost of communication affordable.
The forum included academia, civil society, government, network providers and analysts.