A city-based lawyer has filed a complaint against Safaricom, Airtel and Telkom Kenya over high cost of data and expiry of unused data bundles.
In his complaint to the Communications and Multimedia Appeals Tribunal, Adrian Kamotho accused the three firms of unlawfully and irregularly depriving consumers of their unused data bundles.
Mr Kamotho said the firms have failed to provide an option to consumers to roll over unused data thus illegally depriving them of their property.
“The complainant is immensely aggrieved over the high cost of data and profoundly frustrated by the arbitrary expiry of hard earned data bundles…Expiring data bundles have become a thorn in the flesh of Kenyan mobile users. Despite charging an arm and a leg for data, the Respondents have been depriving off consumers, the right to quiet enjoyment of legitimately acquired data bundles,” Mr Kamotho said in his complaint.
Further, Mr Kamotho accused the telcos of discriminating against their consumers by charging them “out of bundle” rates that are different from normal bundle rates.
The lawyer wants consumers allowed to keep the data that they have purchased for as long as they remain active on the vendor’s network.
“Data should not have an expiry date until used up‚ as long as the SIM card is active and the consumer keeps recharging,” said Mr Kamotho.
Mr Kamotho said the data expiry model is unfair to the poor majority, who can buy low-amount bundles, which are designed to expire sooner than big bundles, which only the rich can afford.
He said requiring consumers to use their bundles within a given period is irrational, given the phenomenal deficiency in network coverage in various parts of the country.
He added that the frequent pain of losing data when mobile devices run out of power is unbearable.
Mr Kamotho said he had written to the Communications Authority of Kenya (CA) demanding a clarification on the model in vain.
He accused CA of failing to provide consumers with the option of rolling over unused data, illegally depriving them of their unused data.
He said the firms should send consumers reasonable depletion notifications to enable them to track usage.