The GSMA, the trade organisation that represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide, has announced a new scheme to help consumers understand and manage their data usage when abroad. 24 major network operators have agreed to implement a number of measures to help customers who are using their mobile phone abroad, reducing the risk of ‘bill shock’ when they return home.
Participating members include América Móvil, AT&T, Axiata Group Berhad, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom, Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom/Orange, Hutchison 3 Group, KT Corporation, MTS, Qtel, SK Telecom, Smart Communications, SoftBank Mobile, Tata Teleservices, Telecom Italia Group, Telefónica, Telekom Austria Group, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, Verizon Communications, VimpelCom and Vodafone.
These operators have agreed to implement the following data roaming measures by the end of this year, covering more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide:
- Sending text messages to remind customers of their data roaming tariffs when they arrive in another country
- Implementing a monthly data spending limit when abroad to help consumers manage their roaming bill
- Sending alerts when data usage approaches the pre-set limit
- Temporarily suspending data service when usage exceeds the agreed spending limit.
A number of these measures are already becoming law across Europe as part of EU legislation.
The GSMA is now working to encourage its full membership base of approaching 800 mobile operators to adopt the practices. A logo will be developed to identify participating network operators.
Franco Bernabè, Chairman of the GSMA, said “A number of our operator members are already implementing sound transparency practices, benefitting more than a billion subscribers worldwide. The initiative announced today will help to promote an even broader adoption of principles that will offer a more transparent and uniform experience for billions of consumers, wherever they travel.”