Monday, March 14, 2011

Singapore - Regulator has taken three actions to contain problems with mobile data roaming charges

[iDA] With more consumers buying smartphones and using them overseas, some consumers may inadvertently incur high data roaming charges. Consumers will soon be able to manage their data roaming usage with more peace of mind with the introduction of three new consumer protection measures for data roaming. From 1 July 2011, mobile operators will have to obtain explicit consent from their subscribers before providing any roaming services (including data roaming services), which may currently be available by default to mobile subscribers. Mobile operators are also required to explicitly direct consumer to the prices, terms and conditions of the roaming services to ensure that consumers can make an informed choice on whether or not to subscribe for such services.

Secondly, consumers will soon be able to limit their data roaming usage in any single monthly billing cycle to no more than $100. IDA has directed mobile operators to offer a free data roaming service suspension option that caps data roaming usage at $100. Operators are expected to implement such a service by the first quarter of 2012.

Lastly, should consumers not wish to utilise any data roaming service while overseas, apart from switching off the data roaming feature in their smartphones themselves, they will soon be also able to deactivate data roaming service prior to leaving Singapore. Consumers who return to Singapore can reinstate their data services and continue using their data service locally as per normal. The service is expected to be implemented the first quarter of 2012.

While IDA has established these new requirements, IDA has left it to the operators to work out the specific implementation methods and to supplement them with additional consumer protection measures commercially if they wish to do so. Operators would also need the lead time to iron out the implementation details and service provisioning to meet IDA's requirements.

IDA's New Regulations for Mobile and Broadband Services Empower Consumers to Make Informed Choices

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