FCC to Require Wireless Carriers to Alert Customers When Reaching Voice/Data Limits?

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Thursday, 14 October 2010

FCC to Require Wireless Carriers to Alert Customers When Reaching Voice/Data Limits?

According to Fierce Wireless Broadband, the FCC is busy today working on regulations that would require mobile operators to either send out text messages or voice alerts when customers reach their monthly data/voice limits. These regulations have been long awaited by many and fueled by news articles of users that were hit with $5,000+ bills that typically run between $60-100 per month. FCC chairman Julias Genachowski said to The New York Times: "the data is clear that there is a significant consumer issue".

Verizon Wireless, who is opposed to the bill, did agree that consumers should have "access to clear information regarding their wireless usage." To some degree, they already do - for example, Verizon's VZAccess Manager software allows users to view their data usage, and customers can also log in to their account online to view usage info. However, this info isn't updated in real time and the delay between updates can certainly add up (mobile broadband overages start at $0.05/mb on the 5GB plan; per-minute overages on the voice side depend on your plan). Additionally, many users don't understand what a "Megabyte" is, let alone how to interpret their usage patterns and how it affects their bill.

The FCC's proposal is aimed at protecting consumers from opening their mail and finding a bill for thousands of dollars when they perhaps didn't even know they were anywhere near their limit. Since Verizon, Sprint, and AT&T introduced the 5GB allowance on their mobile broadband plans, many in the EVDO Forums community have expressed a desire for some sort of notification system from their carrier so that they would know when they were getting close to their limit - perhaps the FCC will finally grant their wish!

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Last Updated ( Thursday, 14 October 2010 )
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