Consumer Champion WASPA Commits to More of the Same

Published on: 23rd January 2018

The self-regulating watchdog for South Africa’s mobile content and applications industry, the Wireless Application Service Providers’ Association (WASPA), has recommitted itself to another year of looking out for cellular consumers.

This is good news for beleaguered local consumers who are expected to again bear the brunt of the twin economic challenges of low growth and high inflation. WASPA’s been on the consumer protection beat since its inception in 2004.

Although primarily a lobbying body for the over 400 firms who make mobile content and applications available to South Africa’s 35 million cellular users, WASPA is today also a trusted consumer champion. “After the mobile network operators, WASPA is today the most trusted port of call when it comes to helping consumers manage their content intake and subscriptions,” says WASPA General Manager, Ilonka Badenhorst.

Ms Badenhorst summarises a selection of WASPA’s five most effective consumer protection mechanisms:

1. WASPA’s world-leading Code of Conduct sets the standard for responsible self-regulation and is regularly fine-tuned to better protect the mobile consumer. The Code has been revised over a dozen times since May 2014 to reflect new challenges within the wireless application service provider (WASP) industry that impact upon the mobile consumer.

2. WASPA’s well-established formal complaints process is central to its mandate of responsible self-regulation and features the use of trained lawyers as adjudicators.

3. The impartial third parties referred to above always act in the consumer’s best interests and their adjudication judgments are transparently published on the WASPA website, enhancing accountability.

4. WASPA annually elects the office bearers who volunteer their time in pursuit of its mandate of representing the industry and protecting the mobile consumer. The WASPA Chairman takes strategic direction from the WASPA Management Committee while a series of quarterly meetings, regular communiques and other built-in mechanisms help provide oversight.

5. By aligning their activities with the WASPA Code of Conduct, WASPs are simultaneously in compliance with several important pieces of legislation. The Code has purposely been drafted to be in line with the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act (ECTA), the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) and the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI).

In conclusion, from a loose collection of like-minded firms wanting to offer increased choice to the mobile consumer, the WASP sector is today an important contributor to South Africa’s vibrant cellular industry, and one that is assured of the full confidence of the mobile consumer.

WASPA was founded on 26 August 2004 in South Africa with the full support of the three SA mobile network operators (MNOs): Cell C, MTN and Vodacom.

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