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LCA gives Vodacom, Econet ultimatum on voice and SMS bundles

Bereng Mpaki

LESOTHO Communications Authority (LCA) has given Vodacom Lesotho and Econet Telecom Lesotho until 9 July 2020 to stop deducting costs from clients’ airtime when their voice and SMS bundles have been depleted or expired.

Failure to comply with the directive may result in disciplinary measures being taken against the mobile telecommunications service providers, the LCA’s chief executive officer, ‘Mamarame Matela, said this week.

Ms Matela said the two service providers were first directed in March 2020 to stop charging clients for data, voice and SMS bundles without the clients’ express permission. She said to date the service providers had only partially complied with the directive after they stopped deducting costs for data. They have, however, been making deductions for voice and SMS bundles even if clients have not expressly requested such services.

“The (LCA) authority has established that both networks have only complied with implementing the directive in regard to data services,” Ms Matela said, adding the networks claimed they were not aware they were supposed to stop deducting for voice and SMS bundles as well.

“It is on this basis that the authority has given the network operators a period of a month beginning from the 9th of June 2020 to implement the directive in regard to voice and SMS services.”
Econet’s public relations manager Puleng Masoabi said they would be fully complaint with the LCA directive by the time the deadline expires on 9 July 2020.

“We are implementing the directive on a gradual process, and we will have fully complied with it by 9 July 2020. We have not fully implemented it only because we did not want to disrupt the service we are giving to our consumers,” Ms Masoabi said.

Molemo Motseki, the head of Vodacom’s Legal Regulatory and External Affairs, said the company would soon release a statement on the ‘sensitive’ matter.
“The company has made a resolution to release a statement on the matter, and you will receive it as soon as it is ready,” Mr Motseki said.

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