01.Mobile phone bill shock
The Federal government today has announced new global roaming rules that will see consumers sent an SMS message when they arrive overseas, alerting them to higher phone charges.
Telecommunications providers will also have to reveal to consumers that they may be charged for services that are normally free at home, the exact price for services and how to turn off roaming.
The announcement was followed by a call from the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN) for great transparency as to how huge roaming charges are calculated.
CHOICE supports this call and believes consumers should be given access to information about how much our telcos are really get charged by overseas providers.
In addition to warnings, CHOICE would like to see overseas roaming costs capped so telcos can’t continue to dial up charges that leave consumers thousands of dollars out of pocket when they return from overseas.
The news comes following the 1 July announcement that the European Union's Roaming Regulation has lowered the prices for mobile roaming within the EU. By 2014, EU consumers will benefit from price caps for making calls, sending SMSs and accessing mobile internet.
Earlier this year the Australian government announced promising steps toward limiting Trans-Tasman roaming costs, and CHOICE encourages them to take this further and seek to cap costs wherever Australians roam.
Optus recently announced it will cap its global roaming charges to $500 - but CHOICE thinks it still has more room to move.
Hopefully the new roaming rules will go some way to reducing the number of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO). In December, complaints about disputed roaming charges increased by almost 70 per cent in 2011-12, to more than 4100.