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ICASA fine-tunes data rules

New rules let users opt-in to out-of-bundle, opt out of depletion messages.



South Africa’s communications regulator has fine-tuned the rules for data expiry and notification of consumers, following confusion and court challenges.

The Independent Communications Authority of South Africa (ICASA) says it has received a number of concerns from licensees regarding implementation of the regulations, and had met with some of these during January.

As a result, mobile network operators have until the end of this month to get their systems ready to allow users to opt out of usage depletion notifications, rather than requiring them to opt in to get those notifications. They will also have to allow users the option of opting in or out of out-of-bundle billing.

Cell C and MTN had both taken ICASA to court last year to delay implementation of the new regulations. The South Gauteng High Court backed the operators, and Icasa accepted the ruling that the effective date of the End-User and Subscriber Service Charter Amendment Regulations of 2018 would be 28 February 2019. It issued a statement, on 15 November 2018, confirming that the matter was settled.

It said in a new statement yesterday: “After due consideration of additional submissions and inputs received from licensees, ICASA has decided to make slight amendments to the Regulations in order to bring certainty and to ensure that the enforcement and implementation of the Regulations does not result in unintended consequences for licensees and consumers.”

ICASA Councillor Botlenyana Mokhele said: “The slight amendments referred to were necessitated by the need to facilitate implementation and compliance with the regulations. The essence of the issues that the Authority intends to address with the regulations namely, usage notifications, rollover of data, transfer of data, and out of bundle billing remain. Further, the mobile network operators still have an obligation to educate their consumers on the new regulations.”

The updated versions of the new regulations, announced yesterday, are:

  1. Usage notifications – licensees will be required to provide consumers with an option to opt-out of usage depletion notifications for voice, SMS and data services.
  2. Out-of-bundle billing – licensees will be required to provide consumers with an option to opt-in or opt-out of out-of-bundle data billing.
  3. Rollover of data – this provision remains unchanged. ()
  4. Transfer of data – replaced the word network with electronic communications licensee to avoid confusion.

ICASA made it clear that the regulations do not apply to non-licensees such as MVNOs and resellers.


YouTube Music announces Smart Downloads, SA playlists

The service has introduced Smart Downloads which takes allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically.



The latest updates from YouTube Music, for subscribers of its Music Premium and Premium services, include a new feature that allows users to switch seamlessly between a song and its music video for an uninterrupted experience.

It has also introduced Smart Downloads which takes the work out of downloading music, allowing users to store and play hundreds of tunes offline, automatically. YouTube Music has also announced new playlists for South Africa. 

The updates all reflect features that are popular on the global leader in music streaming, Spotify, and that have been key to its growth.

YouTube said in a statement on Friday: “Imagine listening to a new track by your favourite artist in the YouTube Music app and having the ability to seamlessly switch over to watch the music video – no pauses, no interruptions, just a simple tap that keeps the music flowing. This standout new feature from YouTube Music allows YouTube Premium and YouTube Music Premium subscribers to make a seamless transition between a song and its music video for uninterrupted listening and/or watching. Whether you’re in the mood for listening or watching (or a little of both)… it’s all here – no app switching required.”

With Smart Downloads, YouTube Music automatically saves music at night, when connected to Wi-Fi, helping subscribers to use less mobile data, enjoy a smoother updating experience and save up to 500 songs offline using Liked Songs playlist as well as other playlists and albums. 

Previously, music lovers could use the Offline Mixtape feature to download up to 100 songs, specifically chosen for them based on what they listened to most on the platform. Now, with Smart Downloads, they select the number of songs they would like automatically downloaded by toggling their YouTube Music Settings. This means YouTube Music Premium subscribers with Smart Downloads enabled on their mobile devices can now access hundreds of tracks regardless of connectivity. 

This feature is currently available on Android, with plans to bring it to iOS in the future.

Click here to read more about YouTube Music playlists, and find out what is inside them.

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Make cars, not waste



Jaguar Land Rover is trialling an innovative recycling process which converts plastic waste into a new premium grade material that could feature on future vehicles. 

It’s estimated that the amount of waste plastic is predicted to exceed 12 million tonnes globally by 2050*. Today, not all of this plastic can be recycled for use in automotive applications – especially in vehicle parts that are required to meet the most exacting safety and quality standards.

Working in conjunction with chemical company, BASF, Jaguar Land Rover is part of a pilot project called ChemCycling that upcycles domestic waste plastic, otherwise destined for landfill or incinerators, into a new high-quality material. 

The waste plastic is transformed to pyrolysis oil using a thermochemical process. This secondary raw material is then fed into BASF’s production chain as a replacement for fossil resources; ultimately producing a new premium grade that replicates the high quality and performance of ‘virgin’ plastics. Importantly, it can be tempered and coloured making it the ideal sustainable solution for designing the next-generation dashboards and exterior-surfaces in Jaguar and Land Rover models.

Jaguar Land Rover and BASF are currently testing the pilot phase material in a Jaguar I-PACE prototype front-end carrier overmoulding to verify it meets the same stringent safety requirements of the existing original part.

Pending the outcome of the trials and progression in taking chemical recycling to market readiness, adoption of the new premium material would mean Jaguar Land Rover could use domestically derived recycled plastic content throughout its cars without any compromise to quality or safety performance**. 

Chris Brown, Senior Sustainability Manager at Jaguar Land Rover, said: “Plastics are vital to car manufacturing and have proven benefits during their use phase, however, plastic waste remains a major global challenge. Solving this issue requires innovation and joined-up thinking between regulators, manufacturers and suppliers.

“At Jaguar Land Rover, we are proactively increasing recycled content in our products, removing single-use plastics across our operations and reducing excess waste across the product lifecycle. The collaboration with BASF is just one way in which we are advancing our commitment to operating in a circular economy.”

This is the latest example of Jaguar Land Rover’s commitment to addressing the challenge of waste plastic. The company has collaborated with Kvadrat to offer customers alternative seat options that are both luxurious and sustainable. The high-quality material, available initially on the Range Rover Velar and Range Rover Evoque, combines a durable wool blend with a technical suedecloth that is made from 53 recycled plastic bottles per vehicle. 

Jaguar Land Rover has already met its 2020 target for Zero Waste to Landfill for UK operations. This includes the removal of 1.3 million m2 – equal to 187 football pitches – of plastic from its manufacturing lineside and replacing 14 million single use plastic items in business operations. 

Together, these efforts are driving towards Jaguar Land Rover’s vision for Destination Zero; an ambition to make societies safer and healthier, and the environment cleaner. Delivered through relentless innovation to adapt its products and services to the rapidly-changing world, the company’s focus is on achieving a future of zero emissions, zero accidents and zero congestion.

Editor’s notes:

** All Jaguar and Land Rover vehicles tested have achieved a Euro NCAP 5* rating.

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