South Africa’s mobile networks and ISPs can now increase prices under new coronavirus rules

Acting minister of Communications and Digital technologies, Jackson Mthembu, has published a new directive which revises the coronavirus regulations for mobile networks in South Africa.

The directive deletes a number of requirements which were introduced by the Department of Communications on 26 March, when the country first entered its coronavirus lockdown.

Notably, the directive deletes the section relating to prices and number porting.

This means that South Africans will once again be able to port their numbers between mobile networks, effectively allowing customers to move between mobile networks.

Mobile networks are now also allowed to increase prices across their products – something which had been previously been banned for the duration of the Covid-19 national disaster.

This also applies to other ‘licensed entities’ such as internet service providers (ISPs).

Tracking and tracing

The other major amendment relates to the tracking and tracing of South Africans which had contracted the coronavirus, or who had come into contact with someone who has had it.

Previously, the government required that mobile networks and internet companies provide location-data to help the government track the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

However, the latest amendment means that this is no longer a requirement, and these companies no longer have to provide this information.

The below gazette shows the new directive and amendments:

Telecom Gazette May 2020 by BusinessTech on Scribd

The original directive, published on 26 March, can be read here.

Read: Here is all the personal information government is using to track South Africans during the lockdown

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