1,000 signatures reached
To: The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa
Help Icasa ensure data only expires after 3 years
Ensure data bundles don't expire for at least 3 years (unless used)
Why is this important?
We all hate it when data bundles we have bought, are taken away from us after 30 days, or when our data bundle runs out and the networks don't tell us, so it chows our airtime because we are being charged out of bundle rates. Or the fact that those of us who have the least money can only afford small bundles which expire even faster. For too long companies have made up their own rules and ripped us off. But thanks to our Data Must Fall campaign and other voices, ICASA our regulator has published draft regulations that, if implemented in final form, will prevent networks from expiring users’ data for up to 36 months .
The likes of MTN, Vodacom, Cell C and Telkom mobile are furious with Icasa, and are crying poor, but we know the truth, and we can ensure people power supports Icasa's bold moves. Icasa is asking for public comment on their draft regulations, the deadline is the 3rd January. We need to cease the moment, and demonstrate enough public support for these regulations, so that these greedy companies don’t find a way to undermine our campaign demands.
We need to build on the momentum gained by the Competition Commission launching an Inquiry into the high price of data. For three years our community has fought for justice in many ways. Today, let’s once again come together to ensure that the Competition Commission acts to ensure that network providers don’t profiteer on the backs of those who can only afford the smallest data bundles.
Consumers get discounts for purchasing many other basic goods in bulk and pay premiums for buying in small sachets. One of the underlying reasons for these price differences is that it costs more to package and distribute these goods in small quantities. Data is not a product at all. The costs of supplying data reside largely in the billions of rands of investment in the mobile infrastructure and the cable backbone that supports it. How this cost is distributed amongst consumers is in the hands of the operators. In principle there is no reason why data should not cost the same whether bought in small or large quantities. The only additional cost of providing small bundles for operators rests on the billing and associated communication costs. ICASA should demand that operators justify the costs associated with small bundles. At the moment the ratio between the best value package and the worst on Vodacom for 30 day bundles is 1:20 on MTN is 1:29 on Cell C is 1:40 and on Telkom Mobile is 1:10.
While we support Icasa’s move to ensure data bundles only expire after 3 years, we only support this being implemented if ICASA ensures companies don’t then remove smaller data bundles that low-income earners can afford, or remove these bundles altogether. Basically, Icasa while ensuring data bundles don’t expire for 3 years, must ensure this does not come at the cost of low-income consumers.