Mobile phone service providers agreed six months ago that they would alert consumers when they are nearing their plan limits for data, text or calling minutes, and send additional text warnings when those limits have been reached.
The Federal Communications Commission is now keeping track of the wireless industry’s progress for consumers on its website.
By Oct. 17, 2012, carriers will provide customers with at least two out of the four free notifications for data, voice, text and international roaming, and all of the alerts by April 17, 2013.
All alerts must be provided without charge and automatically. Subscribers will not need to take any action to receive the alerts.
The carriers have committed to providing alerts twice to subscribers – when they approach, and another when they exceed, plan allowances for voice, data and text.
The information on the new FCC web page will:
- Be updated at least monthly as new compliance information is provided by CTIA – group representing the mobile phone industry, known as CTIA-The Wireless Association
- Indicate each carrier’s provision of the particular type of alert;
- Link to the relevant details available on the carrier’s website; and
- Show the designation “N/A” where a carrier offers an unlimited amount of the particular type of service, making the sending of usage alerts unnecessary.
Once the alerts are in place, consumers will know when overage charges have been triggered, avoiding what the FCC has labeled as “bill shock.”
The agreement on the free alerts was announced in October by the FCC; Consumers Union, the nonprofit consumer advocacy group; and the CTIA.