FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

October 17, 2011 -

The Federal Communications Commission and the nation's wireless carriers have hammered out an agreement that will have wireless operators notifying customers when they are nearing their monthly limits on usage for voice, text, or data services. The FCC estimates that tens of millions of wireless phone subscribers are hit with overage charges each year; their data is based on their own studies on the issue, as well as data from the Government Accountability Office and private research firms.

The new agreement covers all the members of the industry’s largest trade group (CTIA — the Wireless Association), which means that it covers more than 300 million wireless accounts, according to the FCC chairman Julius Genachowski.

"I appreciate the mobile phone companies’ willingness to work with my administration and join us in our overall and ongoing efforts to protect American consumers by making sure financial transactions are fair, honest and transparent," said President Obama is a statement.

Steve Largent, president of CTIA said that this new deal fulfilled a government pledge without imposing new regulations.

A 2010 study by the FCC found that approximately one in six mobile users had experienced what they call "bill shock," with 23 percent of users facing unexpected charges of $100 or more for overages. Another FCC report found that around 20 percent of bill shock complaints it received during the first half of 2010 were for $1,000 or more in overage charges.

Even unlimited data plans often have a caps limiting downloads each month to a certain number of megabytes. Last October, the FCC pointed out the case of a 66-year-old retiree from Dover, Mass., who received an $18,000 bill after the promotional period for his unlimited data plan expired without warning.

While companies have the option to deliver alerts by text or voice, they must be free to customers and automatic. Consumers can also opt out of the service if they so choose. At least two of the four types of alerts must be started by carriers within 12 months, and all alerts must begin within 18 months, according to the agreement. The companies also agreed to promote and publicize tools so that consumers can monitor their own usage. The FCC is working with the nonprofit Consumers Union to track wireless carriers’ compliance.

This new agreement hopes to make that sort of event a thing of the past by notifying customers when overages occur. How carriers will implement this plan remains to be seen but the FCC expects them to have some sort of system in place within a year.

Source: New York Times


Comments

Re: FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

I'm fairly sure there's a loophole in here somewhere.

Re: FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

my wireless carrier already does this. In fact i've had 2 carriers in my adult life, and both did this.

I thought it was standard to be upfront and honest with your customers. Apparently if you live in the US you need government controls just to play fair.

Re: FCC, Wireless Carriers Agree to New Overage Alert System

Nope. You have to have the government asks and then hope:

"I appreciate the mobile phone companies’ willingness to work with my administration and join us in our overall and ongoing efforts to protect American consumers by making sure financial transactions are fair, honest and transparent,"

 
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Michael ChandraYou want a debate? Build a wall between you and the poisoned well. Make clear you despise it, despise the behaviour. Then get into the other issues you are troubled with, and don't say a single word again about the poisoned well.09/19/2014 - 3:46am
Michael ChandraAnd someone claiming #notyourshield was to be taken serious, when chatlogs show they wanted it going to hide even more harassment behind? Yeah, not buying a word you're saying. You poisoned your own well.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael Chandraallegedly fired over giving a game a mediocre review and the company threatened to pull ads? Sorry but I ain't buying this.09/19/2014 - 3:45am
Michael ChandraBut people arguing this is horrible and just about ethics, even though there's very little support that journalistic integrity was actually violated here, while they never spoke up when a journalist was09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Michael ChandraIf people start with condemning the way GamersGate was used as a misdirection, then use a better hashtag, that would work in convincing me they mean it.09/19/2014 - 3:43am
Andrew EisenOoo, this one came down to the wire! https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/749082525/nefarious09/19/2014 - 1:03am
Andrew EisenI don't doubt that many are truly interested in journalistic integrity. The problem I'm often seeing is they seem to have no idea how or where to talk about it.09/18/2014 - 11:46pm
Andrew EisenDidn't word that well. Busy at work. I've seen people claim that GamerGate is solely about ethics and transparency in games journalism and then go on to show that what they're really after is silencing those who talk about gender issues in games.09/18/2014 - 11:45pm
Kronodebate. Becaus apparently people who only post on Reddit are supposed to police twitter before they're allowed to question anything about the people involved.09/18/2014 - 10:40pm
KronoI highly doubt many, if any are using journalistic integrity as a cover for harassment. The people harassing are essentially trolls. They aren't interested in subtle. More often it's othe other way around. People use "but X is being harassed" to shut down09/18/2014 - 10:38pm
Andrew EisenAnd exacerbating everything is the fact that all the cries of ethics violations have been obnoxious and easily proven false.09/18/2014 - 8:59pm
Andrew EisenProblem is, I would imagine, the sheer number of people who are using journalistic integrity as a cover for their harassing actions or only bringing it up on the false pretense of journalistic integrity.09/18/2014 - 8:47pm
Andrew EisenHaving said that, I can certainly see how one would be frustrated if they truly just wanted to talk about journalistic integrity and someone said they were one of the people harassing Sarkeesian, Quinn and others (though I've seen no examples of that).09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoThat's been the common refrain, that talk of journalism ethics is just an excuse to harass people.09/18/2014 - 8:44pm
KronoLines like "like a partial compromise with the howling trolls who’ve latched onto ‘ethics’ as the latest flag in their onslaught against evolution and inclusion." are taring everyone questioning the ethics as a harasser.09/18/2014 - 8:43pm
Andrew EisenKrono - Except, none of the articles were talking about gamers complaining about journalist ethics, let alone called them white male misogynists. They were talking about the gamers who were harassing others.09/18/2014 - 8:36pm
Kronomakes plenty of sense. It's rather hard to dismiss someone as a white guy running a sock puppet when they've posted proof they're a woman, or black, or another minority.09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat any critics of journalists were white guys that hated women, and could be dismissed as such. It seems to have helped some. It's kind of difficult to maintain the white guy narrative in the face of a bunch of women and non-white guys. So the tag09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronothat, someone vented on a #gamergate 4chan thread about being dismissed like that. The suggestion they got in return was to organize their own hashtag in response, with #NotYourShield being suggested. Thus the tag came into use to combat the undercurrent09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
Kronomuch more general problem. And while several of the articles were fairly tame, they spured a bunch of people to dismiss any critics of the journalism involved as misogynistic men. Usually with insults aimed at the geek stereotype. After about a week of09/18/2014 - 8:32pm
 

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