Last year, Icasa confirmed that new data regulations will be implemented from 28 February 2019. However, with just days to go before the amended End User and Subscriber Services Charter (EUSSC) Regulations come into effect on 1 March.
The new data regulations will give consumers far more power over the way they use their data bundles, but those who don’t opt-in to out-of-data bundle charges in advance will find themselves suddenly cut off when their bundles run out.
Cell C implemented the changes in the Final Regulations published in May before the end of 2018 and customers will have already experienced the benefits of the new enhanced notifications service, the additional rollover facility and data transfer. Additional requirements announced by ICASA on 12 February – 2 weeks before the deadline – are under review.
On 1 March the company will be turning on the feature that prevents customers from making use of the out-of-bundle (OOB) facility for data, unless they opt into OOB usage. This is the most significant change that will have the widest impact on mobile consumers.
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Customers can opt-in or set limits to OOB spend by using Cell C’s Spend Control service, which allows customers to completely manage their OOB usage whether it be for data, voice or SMS. Customers can opt-in on the Cell C App or via USSD. If customers opt-in before the 1 March deadline, they will not be asked to do so again.
Customers who don’t opt-in by the deadline may find themselves in a situation where they don’t have access to any data once their data bundle runs out – even if airtime is available or they are on an open contract. The amount of airtime they can access or amount they can choose for OOB data usage on their contract is tied to the rand value they assign to their OOB data limit using Spend Control.
For example, if a customer sets an OOB limit to R100, they can use up to R100 to continue using data once their bundle runs out.
“It’s up to customers to determine how their cell phone spend will work, according to their budget and in order to avoid running out of data. However, customers will need to opt-in to get the benefits of the Spend Control function and to make sure they are never without data, SMSes or call time when they need it the most,” says Cell C Chief Customer Experience Officer, Michelle Beetar.