It took a matter of hours for Vodacom, SA’s biggest mobile phone operator, to reconsider its intention to charge customers for the privilege of rolling over expiring and unused data. Rules set by the Independent Communications Authority of SA (Icasa), compelling mobile operators to notify consumers about data-bundle usage and allowing them to roll over unused data, come into effect on Friday. The practice of forcing customers to forfeit data that they had not used when time to renew their bundles came has always been controversial. It seemed unfair that consumers should be disadvantaged and be deprived of something they had already paid for, simply because they had not used it all up by a particular time. So this became a lightning rod in the wider debate about the cost of data and whether this was holding us back in a world economy that is increasingly dominated by technological advances that rely on the availability of fast internet connections. It did not take long for users of s...

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