Ofcom to tackle big mobile bills
Ofcom (them again) are pushing for greater EU regulation in a bid to to tackle gigantic mobile phone bills.
In a statement, the regulator report that data is now the main cause of unexpectedly high bills and that international roaming caused most of the 1.4 million unpleasant surprises that occurred between April and September 2011.
The EU is already looking into this and passing more regulation in June, but Ofcom wants these rules applied to the rest of the world as well as at home.
If you're travelling through Europe, you're already supposed to receive advice on charges for voice, text and data services. Data is also capped at €50 and operators are required to send a text alert when the user reaches 80 per cent of that. At €50, you'll be temporarily cut-off unless greater data is requested.
The EU is going to extend those rules in addition to bringing in a Eurotariff for roaming data. The details of that won't come to fruition 'til April, but Ofcom are saying that, even if the EU doesn't act, they'll be asking UK operators to implement something similar.
In short, contract users will be able to opt-in to restricted use, so for example, you'll be able to cap your usage at £30 a month and the operator will have to honour that with all the text warnings that you're about to reach your limit and such.
Will the phone-companies now engage in an undercutting war, thereby fighting for customers by offering the cheapest deals? Watch this space.