South African mobile contract subscribers can cancel their agreement with the operator if they are dissatisfied with the service, device, or customer service.
However, you should consider the fees associated with cancelling, as they can be pretty steep.
Telkom determines its contract cancellation charges at the point of cancellation based on several factors, including:
The remaining duration of the contract;
The monthly subscription fee; and
An applicable cancellation admin fee and any outstanding balances.
“The cancellation fee value is predominantly made up of the remaining device fees, and this depends on the remaining time on the contract and original device,” Telkom told MyBroadband.
“Telkom has to charge device fees as we have already incurred the costs and therefore have to recoup our investment.”
A Telkom customer service agent confirmed that customers would pay a cancellation admin fee of R809 and the remaining value of the contract.
The Consumer Protection Act (CPA) stipulates that mobile operators should be given 20 days’ notice for the cancellation of a contract.
However, Telkom customers are contractually obligated to give the mobile operator 30 days’ notice, regardless of whether it extends beyond the agreed contract period.
The CPA also outlines several amounts to consider when calculating a “reasonable” fee for cancelling a contract, including:
Any amounts still outstanding, up to the date when cancelling the agreement.
The value of transactions up to the cancellation date.
The cost of the goods that the customer keeps.
The value of the products returned to the supplier.
The agreed duration of the contract.
Losses suffered or benefits enjoyed by the customer as a result of entering into the contract.
The length of notice of cancellation you provide.
General industry practice — in telecoms, this will include all amounts owed for airtime, SMS, and data bundles that have already been used.
Telkom does not allow for devices to be returned. The termination of the contract aligns with the 30-day notice period, it said.
“The final bill will take an additional 30 days to accommodate for any out-of-bundle usage which may occur during the notice period which cannot be accounted for in advance when the termination fees are calculated,” Telkom previously told MyBroadband.
“Where a third-party ISP is involved in the provisioning of services, there may be additional delays due to the associated processes beyond the control of Telkom.”
As an example of Telkom’s cancellation costs, we calculated what you would pay to cancel a 36- and 24-month iPhone 13 contract on a FreeMe 1.5GB plan at different intervals.
The results are summarised in the table below. The percentage of the total value of the contract is included in brackets.
Early contract cancellation comparison for Telkom: iPhone 13 FreeMe 1.5GB
Contract duration 36 months 24 months
Total value of contract R20,844 R19,176
Cancellation fee: 3 months in R19,916 (96%) R17,588 (92%)
Cancellation fee: 6 months in R18,179 (87%) R14,382 (75%)
Cancellation fee: 9 months in R16,442 (79%) R12,794 (67%)
Cancellation fee: 12 months in R14,705 (71%) R10,397 (54%)
Cancellation fee: 18 months in R11,231 (54%) R5,603 (29%)