Feeds

GSMA pledges end to data roaming bill shock

But prices still high for Asian biz travellers

Security for virtualized datacentres

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. ®

Intelligent flash storage arrays

More from The Register

next story
Of COURSE Stephen Elop's to blame for Nokia woes, says author
'Google did have some unique propositions for Nokia'
FCC, Google cast eye over millimetre wireless
The smaller the wave, the bigger 5G's chances of success
It's even GRIMMER up North after MEGA SKY BROADBAND OUTAGE
By 'eck! Eccles cake production thrown into jeopardy
Mobile coverage on trains really is pants
You thought it was just *insert your provider here*, but now we have numbers
Don't mess with Texas ('cos it's getting Google Fiber and you're not)
A bit late, but company says 1Gbps Austin network almost ready to compete with AT&T
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.