Feeds

GSMA pledges end to data roaming bill shock

But prices still high for Asian biz travellers

High performance access to file storage

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. ®

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Broadband Secretary of SHEEP sensationally quits Cabinet
Maria Miller finally resigns over expenses row
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
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.