Watchdog Roaming Clampdown …As $5K Bill Shocks Rocket
The Australian Communication and Media Authority is seeking public comment on a draft of the global mobile roaming standard, after roaming charges jumped by 70% in 2011-12, as reported by the Telecommunications Ombudsman this week.
There was also a spike in the number of telco customers who were slapped with international roaming bills of $5000 or more.
In fact, one telco user got a bill for roaming charges of almost $148,000 following a holiday in Europe.
Aussie global roaming charges are also notoriously high compared to other countries.
The ACMA has released for comment a draft International Mobile Roaming (IMR) Standard that aims to improve consumers understanding of the unexpected high charges incurred when using their mobile phones and other devices overseas.
The proposed standard would require telcos to warn users when they are roaming and “provide country specific information the costs of calls and data”.
If approved, telcos would be required to receive two texts when overseas – one that would warn that extra charges will apply and allow them to switch off the roaming.
The second would arrive within an hour and state the cost of standard call, an SMS, and 1MB of Internet data.
The draft Standard also proposes that telcos give customers a low cost way to reduce the use of mobile services and tools to monitor usage when overseas.
“These measures are all aimed at reducing “bill shock”, where consumers who use a mobile device overseas can face unexpected high charges upon their return,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.
‘These charges can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars for only a limited period of overseas use, as costs accrue not only for calls and texts but, increasingly, high data usage as “ever on” smartphones become more prevalent.’
The public and all interested parties are being asked to provide feedback on the draft.
Communications Minister Conroy requires the ACMA to develop the standard by May 2013.