Cellular giant Cell C wants more time to make data expiry changes

Icasa ordered network providers to stop taking back unused data from consumers who failed to use it within a stipulated period of purchase.
Icasa ordered network providers to stop taking back unused data from consumers who failed to use it within a stipulated period of purchase.
Image: 123RF/Daniel Ernst

Mobile network operator Cell C has asked for more time to be able to ensure cellphone users don't lose unused data, as ordered by the regulator.

The cellphone operator has taken the Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (Icasa) to court over its call for network providers to implement its regulations on data expiry.

In April, Icasa ordered network providers to stop taking back unused data from consumers who failed to use it within a stipulated period of purchase.

The regulations were due to come into effect last week but have since been suspended as a result of the court action.

In court papers filed before the South Gauteng High Court in Johannesburg last week, Cell C's chief legal officer, Graham Mackinnon, argued that they had one month after Icasa had gazetted its amendments.

Cell C is requesting the court to stop the regulator from enforcing the regulations or alternatively awarding them a six-month extension before implementing changes.

"Cell C's analysis indicated that the proposed amendments would require major changes and further developments to its billing and technical platforms, including software upgrades, business rule changes and significant product offering changes and restructuring," Mackinnon argued in court papers.

He also argued that unlike other mobile communications service providers, Cell C also offered "wholesale services" to other virtual network operators such as Virgin Mobile and FNB, who don't have their own network and would need to make significant upgrades and changes as a result.

Icasa spokesman Paseka Maleka said granting Cell C the extension would not be in the best interest of the public.

"Hence, the decision to refuse the extension."

Maleka said Icasa was putting together its responding court papers to Cell C's court challenge.

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