**Editor's Note: Click here for a recap of some of the worst cases of bill shock of all time.**
Despite carriers' efforts to take the fear out of using your cellphone while traveling abroad, the majority of customers are still switching their 3G connectivity off when they leave their home country.
New research from cloud-based managed services provider MACH – conducted with YouGov – shows that 58 percent eschew 3G service in favor of Wi-Fi, or sometimes nothing, for fear of bill shock when traveling abroad.
MACH has unveiled a new Bill Shock Prevention solution designed to increase consumer confidence in data roaming. By alleviating consumer concerns associated with bill shock, the offering encourages greater data roaming usage, which results in increased roaming revenues for operators, and enhances the overall customer experience, so increasing customer satisfaction, the company said.
MACH says the solution also ensures compliance with regulatory requirements, and helps operators improve revenue assurance by avoiding some of the problems that have been associated with the provision of roaming services such as bill disputes or exposure to debt.
Fear of bill shock hinders operators' ability to deliver recurrent revenues from roaming — estimated to offer an additional value of up to $900 million globally if such concerns could be alleviated.
"In order to remove the fear of bill shock and increase confidence in and uptake of data roaming, mobile network operators require granular, real-time insight into data usage," said Guy Reiffer, vice president, marketing & partnerships, MACH. "Furthermore, compliance with the latest EU regulation and the GSMA's recently announced Data Roaming Transparency Initiative will only be achieved by operators that can take proactive steps to ensure customers are notified about their data usage. MACH's Bill Shock Prevention solution gives operators exactly this kind of insight, playing a vital role in helping them to grow roaming revenues through increased usage and improved customer retention."
The European Union adopted strict bill-shock measures a couple of years ago that come down hard on carriers who fail to alert customers when they approach limits on data, voice, etc. Similar measures have been adopted for U.S. carriers, but compliance is voluntary; however, most of the major operators are in line to meet deadlines for the guidelines this spring.
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