The world's biggest wireless carriers are bonding together to adopt a number of measures they say will help mobile subscribers better understand their data roaming charges and more effectively manage their use of data services.
The GSMA announced the initiative today at Mobile Asia Expo in Shanghai. Twenty-four operator groups – including AT&T, Verizon, Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone, France Telecom, China Mobile and Telenor Group, just to name a few – are on board with a plan to provide consumers greater visibility of their roaming charges and usage of mobile data services when travelling abroad.
“A number of our operator members are already implementing sound transparency practices, benefitting more than a billion subscribers worldwide," said Franco Bernabè, chairman of the GSMA and chairman and CEO of Telecom Italia Group. “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."
Specifically, the GSMA says operators will send text messages to remind customers of their data roaming tariffs when they arrive in another country and turn on their mobile device; implement a monthly data roaming spending limit to help consumers manage their roaming bill and send alerts when their data usage approaches the limit; and temporarily suspend data service when usage exceeds the spending limit.
The operators and their subsidiaries have agreed to implement these data-roaming transparency measures by the end of the year, covering more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide. The GSMA says it will also work to promote the adoption of these guidelines across its full membership base of nearly 800 mobile operators globally. Further, the GSMA plans to develop a system that will identify to consumers that their mobile operator is implementing these measures.