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Review data bundle, airtime expiry rules – Business Daily

Parliament buildings in Nairobi. FILE PHOTO | NMG
It’s about time Parliament called out Kenyan telecommunications operators and Internet service providers (ISPs) over some of their arbitrary pricing and marketing decisions such as imposing expiry dates on airtime, data bundles and loyalty programmes and throttling Internet speeds.
In the past, individual customers have taken to the social media to voice their complaints about what they deem exploitative practices by the telcos and ISPs.
The fact that the regulators haven’t seen it fit to rein in the companies appears to have only emboldened them to continue on this path.
But consumers might yet get a reprieve after the National Assembly’s Communications, Information and Innovation committee opened a probe on the matter.
Kamukunji MP Yusuf Hassan, who took the complaints about the practices by the telcos and ISPs to Parliament, argued there was a need to protect Kenyan Internet consumers who find themselves exploited by expiry of data bundles before they can deplete it, and deliberate reduced Internet speeds.
Millions of Kenyans, he said, are arbitrarily deprived of their unused data bundles they already paid for in full.
The telcos and ISPs will most likely counter that theirs are legitimate business decisions. But business decisions that put consumers at a disadvantage aren’t tenable.
Similar concerns prompted the South African telecoms regulator to propose new regulations that would change expiry rules for data, voice and SMS services so they could not expire for six months.
The Kenyan telcos and regulators could take a leaf out of South African book.



Joseph Muongi

Financial.co.ke was founded by Mr. Joseph Muongi Kamau. He holds a Master of Science in Finance, Bachelors of Science in Actuarial Science and a Certificate of proficiencty in insurance. He's also the lead financial consultant.