New regulations set to bring relief to phone service users

Friday April 02 2021
Bundle pic
By Gadiosa Lamtey

Dar es Salaam. Telcos customers can now freely share already purchased data bundles, thanks to the new regulations effective today.

This change and several others is as per new regulations by the Tanzania Communications Regulatory Authority (TCRA), which becomes effective today (April 2, 2021). They also direct service providers to seek regulator’s approval before offering new bundles.

Customers will also be able to continue using their purchased airtime or unit packages extensively not necessarily within the set expiry time.

All they will have to do is to buy the same package before its expiration date.

The user of the service will be notified once the package hits 75 and 100 percent for voice time, data and SMS packages.

The coming of the new regulations is a deliberate move by the sector’s regulator to reign in telecommunication firm’s issuance of data bundles in response to complaints by consumers.

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The complaints were based on high package costs, frequent changes in data packages, customers receiving promotional messages without their consent and users losing bundles on expiration even if it (the bundle) had not been utilized.

In response to the complaints, TCRA has issued a total of 13 guidelines which compel service providers to abide by a certain set of operational requirements.

In line with the guidelines, service providers are no longer allowed to change packages until after 90 days.

The head of enforcement and compliance at the TCRA, Dr Philip Filikunjombe, told The Citizen yesterday that service providers started sending messages to their subscribers yesterday to inform them of the new changes.

“Thus, minimum regulations are solutions to the challenges faced by users of telecommunications, data and text messaging services through packages. However, it is important to note that in addition to addressing these challenges, given the rapid growth of ICT, other challenges may continue to exist,” he said.

He, however, noted that implementation of the regulations did not mean that the cost of packages must be reduced.

“For some service providers the cost could go down especially for those who used to charge higher prices while for some service providers the costs will go up and others may remain the same,” he said.

He said there would also be unlimited packages available in the main menu and they will use the same name for these packages for all service providers so that they can be easily identified by new and old customers.