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.