Johannesburg: At the end of February 2019 new regulations come into effect that will change the way cell phone users manage their data and airtime packages. The new regulations will give consumers the power to better manage their data, voice time, SMSes and other services.
The four key elements that will affect consumers are:
South African cell phone users stand to benefit greatly from these changes to regulations, which Cell C was already fully compliant with by 20 December 2018.
“We have gone the extra mile by not only complying but giving consumers more than what the regulations require. We wanted to ensure that consumers have complete and unrestricted control over their mobile spend and usage,” says Cell C’s Chief Commercial Officer, Junaid Munshi.
“Now is the ideal time for consumers to be aware of the new regulations and familiarise themselves with Cell C’s enhanced services so that they can utilize and make the most of the benefits.”
Out-of-Bundle (OOB) spend provisions
Under the new regulations, consumers need to opt-in to OOB data charges in order to stay connected when their data bundle runs out. Customers who decide to opt-out of OOB rates (or set their OOB spend rate at zero) may find themselves in a situation where they don’t have access to any data – even if airtime is available or they are on a contract. The amount of airtime they can access or amount they can choose for OOB data spend on their contract is tied to the rand value they assign to their OOB data limit; for example if a customer sets an OOB limit to R10, they can use up to R10 to continue using data at OOB rates once their bundle runs out.
To help with this, Cell C launched its Spend Control feature in November 2018.
This feature allows customers to have complete control over managing their costs if they opt-in. This system will enable users on prepaid, top-up and contract to access a self-service option on the Cell C app, website or USSD code and allow them to reset their OOB data as is required in the regulations but also voice and SMS thresholds starting at a Rand value amount all the way to unlimited.
“This service offers flexibility and allows customers to change settings at no cost. Customers can at any time set their OOB threshold to whatever they like, and this will be applied for all OOB spend from that point forward,” says Munshi.
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.
This amendment requires operators to send usage depletion notifications to consumers, in relation to data, voice and SMS services, at depletion levels of 50%, 80% and 100%. In this regard, Cell C has enhanced its notification service further by providing customers with clear and timely notices as their bundles deplete. Cell C notifies its customers at 20%, 50%, 80% and 100% depletion intervals. Over and above this, mobile users can also track bundle depletion and balances instantaneously through the Cell C app or via USSD.
Under the new regulation, customers have the option to transfer data to other users on the same network. Cell C has always had an option to transfer data to family and friends if customers purchase a data bundle. This option has now been further improved. Cell C recently introduced Data Transfer so that customers can send data to other Cell C users, while also making provision for additional types of data bundles to be transferred. Customers can transfer data three times per day up to 1GB per month for free.
This gives consumers the option to roll over unused data before the date of expiry. Cell C already has validity periods of up to 365 days on some of its data offerings and extended validity periods of up to 2 calendar months on its inclusive contract data. Customers have been able to extend their remaining data bundle balance by simply purchasing another data bundle before the current bundle expires. Unused data on recurring bundles will automatically roll over while the bundle is active.
Customers can extend their data by 1, 7 or 30 days at a time. Customers with 100MB or less remaining will be able to roll over their data completely free for an additional 1 or 7 days. Customers that roll over between 101 MB and 500MB of data can rollover free for an additional day. For larger bundle balances and extensions customers will pay a nominal fee.
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