Zambia to prohibit expiry dates on internet bundles

Zambian lawmakers have passed a motion in parliament that prevents ISPs from prescribing expiry dates on internet bundles purchased by customers. 

Lawmakers said enforcing expiry dates amounts to stealing from subscribers because expired bundles benefit service providers rather than end users. 

They added that Zambians are dependent on internet connectivity and this service must be rolled out to every customer, regardless of any time period attached to a specific bundle. 

In putting the motion forward, Professor Geoffrey Lungwangwa said citizens should be protected from ISPs and it was unfair for subscribers to be disconnected if a bundle is not utilised within a stipulated time frame.

"Data bundles should be transferable to avoid loss of money by subscribers," said Lungwangwa. 

Zambia's minister of communications and transport Mutotwe Kafwaya vowed that the government would "act soon" to address the issue, particularly after passing the motion. 

However, it is not clear as to when exactly the motion will be enforced. 

Kafwaya said a recent study conducted by the Zambia Information and Communications Technology Authority (ZICTA) revealed that 52% of subscribers who purchased 500Mb data bundles on a monthly basis do not exhaust their bundles. 

Response by telecommunications service providers has been largely muted. 

Airtel Zambia's head of corporate communications and government relations Yuyo Kambikambi commented: "We are an entity that follows due process, and we are a law-abiding company; therefore we await to hear more on the motion from parliament on the matter concerning the prohibition of expiry dates on internet bundles purchased by customers."

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