Are operators inviting regulation?

21 Apr 2011

Singapore regulator, the Infocomm Development Agency (IDA), recently introduced a series of bold, even radical, measures to protect local mobile service consumers.

The usual suspects – premium rate services (PRS) and data roaming featured, but IDA also launched a review of its QoS framework for mobile telephone services with a view to raise the standards for mobile QoS indicators such as service coverage, success rate and drop call rate.

Consumers now have the option to block third-party PRS providers and their subsequent bills by opting for a barring service that operators will have to provide. Under the PRS barring service, a consumer will not be able to send or receive any chargeable PRS.

“Accidental” subscription to any service will also not be billed, but who knows how that will be determined? The IDA has given operators until the first quarter of 2012 to comply.

Mobile operators will also be required to provide an option for consumers to limit their data roaming usage in a monthly billing cycle to S$100 ($80.70), no doubt a move to minimize bill shock.

From July this year, mobile operators will have to obtain explicit consent from their subscribers before providing any roaming services (including data roaming services), which may currently be available by default to mobile subscribers.

They will also be required to explicitly direct consumers to the prices, terms and conditions of the roaming services to ensure that consumers can make an informed choice on whether or not to subscribe for such services.

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