Mobile operators told the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa) last week that the regulator would be overstepping its bounds if it went ahead with a proposal that would force them to keep data bundles valid for three years. Icasa and other regulators, including the Competition Commission, are to investigate issues involving the perceived high cost of communication services in SA. This was partly in response to campaigns such as the #DataMustFall movement which intensified scrutiny of data costs and the expiry of data bundles. But mobile operators said at public hearings on the second draft of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Regulations, held last week, that extending the validity of data bundles to three years would limit consumer choice and could even push up prices. Longer-dated data bundles were inherently more expensive for operators and consumers than short-term bundles, while standardised expiry periods would rob service providers of a key differentia...

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