Feeds

SmarTone in the dock again after tariff U-turn

Mobile biz confuses customers

High performance access to file storage

Under fire Hong Kong mobile operator SmarTone has come in for criticism yet again over its handling of new regulations introduced on Monday which were designed to encourage greater transparency for users.

The firm, a long standing partner of Vodafone’s in the region until recently, sparked user fury last week after it decided to ditch its unlimited tariff and replace it with a 2GB package. Protestors apparently gathered outside the firm’s store in the Mong Kok district of Kowloon to tut and shake their fists.

However, SmarTone later announced that, like its competitors, CSL and 3 Hong Kong, it had decided to stick with its own ‘unlimited tariffs’.

Like them, it released updated info saying that users would be given a fair usage cap of 5GB after which point they would be subject to a network access management policy which could impair data intensive applications such as high volume peer-to-peer services.

The new regulations from OFTA force any operators offering an unlimited service to ensure they have the network capacity to do so, and to be clearer about any other limitations on service.

Watchdog the Consumer Council of Hong Kong has now reportedly received three complaints and scores of enquiries from confused SmarTone customers apparently trying to reconcile conflicting information from the operator.

"It's hard to establish that the consumers were misled," watchdog chief executive Connie Yin-hing Lau told the South China Morning Post. "But the company did not have consumers' interests at heart."

Apparently some customers felt that they were conned into renewing their existing unlimited contracts before the new regulations came in, locking them in for another 24 months.

For a communications company, SmarTone’s media relations team are frustratingly difficult to track down. However, The Standard managed to find a spokeswoman, who told the Hong Kong newspaper that there were no plans to offer disgruntled customers any compensation.

Those who renewed their ‘unlimited’ contracts before Monday may not be subject to network access restrictions, she reportedly added.

The Consumer Council has urged SmarTone to follow up on any complaints.

In general, mobile operators in Hong Kong appear to have been getting better at customer relations.

According to stats on the Consumer Council website, complaints about telecoms services dropped from a whopping 9,054 in 2010, to 7,233 last year.

It still remains the most complained about category by far, however, with telecommunications equipment a distant second. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
A black box for your SUITCASE: Now your lost luggage can phone home – quite literally
Breakfast in London, lunch in NYC, and your clothes in Peru
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
Skype pimps pro-level broadcast service
Playing Cat and Mouse with the media
Beat it, freetards! Dyn to shut down no-cost dynamic DNS next month
... but don't worry, charter members, you're still in 'for life'
Like Google, Comcast might roll its own mobile voice network
Says anything's possible if regulators approve merger with Time Warner
EE dismisses DATA-BURNING glitch with Orange Mail app
Bug quietly slurps PAYG credit - yet EE denies it exists
Turnbull leaves Australia's broadband blackspots in the dark
New Statement of Expectations to NBN Co offers get-out clauses for blackspot builds
Facebook claims 100 MEEELLION active users in India
Who needs China when you've got the next billion in your sights?
Facebook splats in-app chat, whacks brats into crack yakety-yak app
Jibber-jabbering addicts turfed out just as Zuck warned
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.