Feeds

GSMA pledges end to data roaming bill shock

But prices still high for Asian biz travellers

Seven Steps to Software Security

Mobile industry body the GSMA reckons it has come up with a plan which should help international business travellers avoid bill shock and better understand their data usage.

At a meeting in Shanghai this week, the organisation cracked together the heads of 24 major global operators including Vodafone, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, China Mobile and Unicom and KT Corporation.

The result is an agreement to make roaming more transparent for punters.

Measures agreed by operators include sending users a text when they arrive in a foreign country to remind them of data roaming tariffs, and enabling a monthly data roaming spending limit to be set - although there's no info on who decides what this upper limit should be.

Operators have also agreed to text users when they’re approaching their spending limit and to suspend the data service temporarily when the limit has been exceeded.

The GSMA says the operators will roll out the measures by the end of the year to cover over four billion global connections, and that it will identify those that have complied with a trust mark.

GSMA chairman Franco Bernabè said that many operators had already implemented the measures.

“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,” he added in a canned statement.

Data roaming charges are being tackled by the European Union, which has already managed to slash voice costs for travellers across the region and will introduce a cap on data charges from 1 July.

However, prices remain high in Asia, where there is no region-wide political institution to bash heads together.

Analysts were pretty pessimistic about that situation changing any time soon.

“This initiative will help to prevent ‘bill shock’, which is increasingly attracting the attention of regulators. It is wise of the industry to address this matter voluntarily,” said Ovum principal analyst David Kennedy.

“But by itself, it won’t lead to lower prices. The customer has little bargaining power against mobile operators in the roaming market.”

IDC’s Alex Chau told The Reg that the new rules could even be a nuisance to business travellers.

“Many users will not like it because the worst case scenario is been cut off while waiting for a crucial call or email,” he argued. ®

The smart choice: opportunity from uncertainty

More from The Register

next story
Auntie remains MYSTIFIED by that weekend BBC iPlayer and website outage
Still doing 'forensics' on the caching layer – Beeb digi wonk
Apple orders huge MOUNTAIN of 80 MILLION 'Air' iPhone 6s
Bigger, harder trouser bulges foretold for fanbois
GoTenna: How does this 'magic' work?
An ideal product if you believe the Earth is flat
Telstra to KILL 2G network by end of 2016
GSM now stands for Grave-Seeking-Mobile network
Seeking LTE expert to insert small cells into BT customers' places
Is this the first step to a FON-a-like 4G network?
Yorkshire cops fail to grasp principle behind BT Fon Wi-Fi network
'Prevent people that are passing by to hook up to your network', pleads plod
BlackBerry: Toss the server, mate... BES is in the CLOUD now
BlackBerry Enterprise Services takes aim at SMEs - but there's a catch
prev story

Whitepapers

Top three mobile application threats
Prevent sensitive data leakage over insecure channels or stolen mobile devices.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Build a business case: developing custom apps
Learn how to maximize the value of custom applications by accelerating and simplifying their development.