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The GSMA's New Initiative to Help Consumers Better Understand Roaming Charges


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June 25, 2012

The GSMA's New Initiative to Help Consumers Better Understand Roaming Charges

By Anshu Shrivastava, TMCnet Contributor

The GSMA (News - Alert) has introduced an initiative that will provide consumers greater visibility of their roaming charges and usage of mobile data services when they are traveling abroad.

Franco Bernabe, chairman of the GSMA and chairman and CEO at Telecom Italia (News - Alert) Group, said that this initiative 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.

As part of the GSMA’s initiative, a group of 24 operators has agreed to undertake a number of measures. These measures are expected to help mobile subscribers better understand their data roaming charges and more effectively manage their use of data services.

In the first phase of this initiative, these operators and their group subsidiaries have agreed to implement the data roaming transparency measures by the end of 2012. This is expected to cover more than 4 billion mobile connections worldwide.

Officials of the organization said that they are committed to working with mobile operators worldwide to adopt measures such as sending text messages to remind customers of their data roaming tariffs when they arrive in another country and turn on their mobile devices.

Additional measures include implementing a monthly data roaming spending limit to help consumers manage their roaming bill and sending alerts when their data usage approaches the limit and temporarily suspending data service when usage exceeds the spending limit.

Organization’s officials said that the GSMA will also work to promote the adoption of these guidelines across its full membership base of nearly 800 mobile operators around the globe. 

Additionally, the GSMA intends to develop a trust mark that will identify to consumers that their mobile operator is implementing these measures, according to organization’s officials.

The 24 operators include America Movil, AT&T, Axiata Group Berhad, Bharti Airtel, Ltd., China Mobile, China Unicom (News - Alert), Deutsche Telekom, France Telecom-Orange, Hutchison 3 Group, KT Corporation, MTS, Qtel, SK Telecom, Smart Communications, Inc., SoftBank Mobile Corp., Tata Teleservices Limited, Telecom Italia Group, Telefonica (News - Alert), Telekom Austria Group, Telenor Group, TeliaSonera, Verizon Communications, VimpelCom and Vodafone Group.

The GSMA represents the interests of mobile operators worldwide. It unites around 800 of the world’s mobile operators and also over 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations.

Earlier this month, the GSMA launched the Mobile and Development Intelligence (MDI) project in conjunction with Omidyar Network, which is the philanthropic investment firm established by eBay (News - Alert) founder Pierre Omidyar.

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Edited by Rich Steeves

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