Wireless carriers agree to warn users if they reach contract limits

Wireless phone users will hopefully be able to find out if they are reaching the limits of their subscription services. The New York Times reports that the Federal Communications Commission has reached an agreement with the nations's wireless carriers that will give consumers warning alerts if they are reaching the monthly limits of their voice, data or text features. The agreement will go into effect within a year. Under the agreement, wireless carriers will have the option to send warning alerts by text or email, among other ways, but these warnings must be free to access by consumers.

The agreement should come as a big relief for many wireless customers who have frequently been slammed with much larger monthly bills due to overage fees on their wireless contracts. These kinds of bill surprises have increased in recent months, according to the FCC, as more users buy and use smartphones and tablets. Of the four major wireless carriers, only Sprint has a true unlimited data plan. Verizon and AT&T have dumped unlimited data plans for new customers and charge overage fees for customers who go over their broadband caps. T-Mobile throttles the download speed for its data plan if users go over a certain amount.

Some customers have been slammed with massive wireless phone bills because wireless companies sometimes shut down certain plans without notice. The FCC said that an unnamed 66 year old retiree in Dover, Massachusetts got hit one month with an $18,000 bill after his wireless company shut down a promotional unlimited data plan without notice.

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that must be the ONE digital thing us kiwis have better, with Telecom they send you a txt once you have used 80 and 100% of your plan. The prices are so high in general that its only on occasion I use any data. From memory you have to select the option to get txts though

We used to have unlimited plans while 2G was main stream here in India. However with 3G being made main stream, data price have just went up sky high.

3G -> 50MB per USD (local rate 1MB Rs. 1)
2G -> USD 2 for a 1000 MB (1GB)

strange, with faster technology, things got harder to use..

we used to have unlimited in 2G but that has gone too

Timble said,
The USA is not "the nation". Other nations do, in fact, exist.

Based on the source, the inference is accurate.

If it were called the Dublin times (or whatev) then it would be a different nation.

Good. I'm glad this is going through. it's about time really.

As for the guy in the example. Not that people in the government don't get their figures wrong regularly and stretch the truth to make a point, but how do you use enough data to end up with an $ 18,000 bill??

M_Lyons10 said,
Good. I'm glad this is going through. it's about time really.

As for the guy in the example. Not that people in the government don't get their figures wrong regularly and stretch the truth to make a point, but how do you use enough data to end up with an $ 18,000 bill??

I average 6 to 7 gigs of data per month on my phone. I appriciate having Unlimited service with Sprint. (Never been slammed or even warned by Sprint). However, if I was at AT&T or Verizon I could see a really high overage fee, so yes I can see an 18K bill

M_Lyons10 said,
Good. I'm glad this is going through. it's about time really.

As for the guy in the example. Not that people in the government don't get their figures wrong regularly and stretch the truth to make a point, but how do you use enough data to end up with an $ 18,000 bill??


Easy, with a sh*tty contract.
You can have an allowance of 200/300MB and overage fees of 1 buck for half a MB.
At 5GB that's? Correct: 10,000 bucks.
Now hitting about 9GB might be a bit more difficult on a smartphone, but it's far from impossible.
(Quite easy when you forget to use WiFi for example)

GS:mac

edit/addition:
Yes, such contracts exist.
They bu**rape your wallet if you don't pay attention big time!

Glad I'm on a good contract with T-Mobile Germany, excellent service and conditions!
(I like my WiFi on select trains unlimited on my contract for example )

There probably hasn't been as large of an outcry about it. I'm glad we don't have bandwidth caps here for Internet even in this town of ~35k.