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ACMA seeks comment on global roaming standard to prevent bill shock

The ACMA is seeking comment on how much it would cost for the industry to adopt any proposed changes.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is seeking comment on a draft international mobile roaming standard to prevent bill shock when consumers are overseas.

The standard proposed by the ACMA would include alerts being sent to consumers when they are overseas to alert them that they are roaming; information on call and data usage costs for global roaming, with information country-specific; tools for consumers to monitor their global roaming usage; and options for consumers to decline using mobile services overseas.

“These measures are all aimed at reducing bill shock, where consumers who use a mobile device overseas can face unexpected high charges upon their return,” Chris Chapman, ACMA chairman, said in a statement.

“These charges can run into hundreds or thousands of dollars for only a limited period of overseas use, as costs accrue not only for calls and texts but, increasingly, high data usage as ‘ever on’ smartphones become more prevalent.”

ACMA is seeking comment on how much it would cost for the industry to adopt any proposed changes.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) revealed today that consumer complaints about mobile roaming charges have dropped, but the disputed amounts for complaints are increasing, with one customer lumped with a $147,908 bill after a European holiday.

In August this year, Senator Stephen Conroy, communications minister, tasked the ACMA with implementing an international mobile roaming standard.

Submissions for comment on the draft standard are due by 25 January next year.

The ACMA must develop a standard by May 2013.

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