South Africans have long been burdened by exorbitant data and airtime rates that far outweigh the norm across Southern Africa and with the public signalling for help, authorities are making progress into the #DataMustFall debate.

The Independant Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) has launched an inquiry that will investigate the country’s high data rates. On Monday, in the Government Gazette, Icasa published a notice of their intention to amend the end-user and subscriber service charter regulations.

A key aim is to do away with data expiration dates. Regulation 8B introduces “out-of-bundle billing practices” and “expiry of data practices.” The draft regulations suggest smaller data bundles between 1Gb and 5Gb remain valid for 90 days, while the bigger bundles must have a lifespan of 24 months. This after long spanning customer concerns about data that expires after 30 days.

The proposed expiry periods for data bundles are:
½ 1-50MB: 10 days
½ 50-500MB: 30 days
½ 500MB-1GB: 60 days
½ 1-5GB: 90 days
½ 5-10GB: 180 days
½ 10-20GB: 12 months
½ 20GB and more: 24 months

The regulations are welcomed by consumers. “Data is expensive in South Africa because it is not regulated and network providers have taken advantage of this,” said Tebogo WaMathabathe who compared data prices with friends abroad to discover that SA data is much more expensive.