**Editor's Note: Click here for a recap of some of the worst cases of bill shock of all time.**
Customers of the Chicago-based operator have been getting free voice- and text-overage notifications on request since 2009, and have been receiving automatic alerts when they approach and exceed the limits of their data plans since June of this year. Now customers will also receive automatic alerts when they may incur international roaming charges.
U.S. Cellular and a number of other large carriers signed on with CTIA-The Wireless Association last year to voluntarily provide overage alerts for voice and messaging, data, and international roaming automatically, at no cost to customers. These new guidelines ask each wireless carrier to provide customers at least two of these alerts by today and all of these alerts by April 17, 2013.
"We want customers to get the most out of their wireless device and not have to worry about being surprised when opening their monthly bill," said David Kimbell, SVP of marketing and chief marketing officer, U.S. Cellular. "With all that our devices can do, it's important for customers to know their provider is looking out for them."
U.S. Cellular 3G and 4G LTE customers have been receiving automatic data usage alerts since June 2012. Tiered data plan customers receive these notifications for every data tier limit they approach and exceed. Customers now also receive automatic alerts when they may incur charges for international usage, such as when traveling abroad or on cruise ships.
Bill shock has been a major point of contention between wireless operators around the world and their customers over the past couple of years. While guidelines in the U.S. are simply that – guidelines – the European Union last year adopted hard and fast regulations that resulting in fines for carriers if they don't notify customers when they're approaching their limits on voice, messaging and data.