Always on, always paying

Always on, always paying

Joseph Waring  |   April 28, 2010
Bill shock hit home this week for Telecom Asia. My son racked up a HK$16,000 (US$2,000) data service bill in less than two weeks after activating GPRS on his HTC Magic -- without once being informed how much he was being charged or that the charge had reached a high level.
 
He did receive an SMS alert after about a week when the usage hit 130k (which means nothing to me, much less a 14-year-old). That would seems a bit late; at HK$0.10/kb, that usage turns out to be HK$13,000. And then the alerts came daily; but with the HTC Magic turning off GPRS isn’t an option. He was forced to turn phone to "airplane" mode at most times since apps such a Gmail, Facebook and some games automatically connect to the internet without clicking the app.
 
At the very least a subscriber should receive a text stating how he is charged (the cost per kb) and a warning text, email or phone call stating the bill had reached a high level (staring at perhaps HK$500, then again at $1,000), and finally the service should be cut off at some reasonable point.
 
Yet none of this happened. How can the operator allow a customer to build up a HK$16,000 bill? This was while in Hong Kong -- roaming would be even higher as we see from the South China Morning Post yesterday, when a host for an online radio station had a roaming bill of HK$29,000 on a three-day trip to Thailand.
 
But it's not over. On a visit to the company’s retail outline to figure out how to turn off GPRS on his phone and cut off his data service, I was told it can't be turned off on the HTC Magic and that the data services can't be terminated (which isn't the case; a manager later said he can do so with authorization; so why didn't the agent cut off when asked?).
 
12

Tell Us What You Think

Add comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <a> <p> <span> <div> <h1> <h2> <h3> <h4> <h5> <h6> <img> <img /> <map> <area> <hr> <br> <br /> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd> <table> <tr> <td> <em> <b> <u> <i> <strong> <font> <del> <ins> <sub> <sup> <quote> <blockquote> <pre> <address> <code> <cite> <embed> <object> <strike> <caption>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
  • Use <!--pagebreak--> to create page breaks.

More information about formatting options

Frontpage Content by Category

Telecomasia.net's most popular news stories, blogs, analysis and features in the first six months of 2010

Voices_tabs

Nicole McCormick
And puts iPhone further out of reach
Robert Clark
Authoritarianism in the time of the internet
Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
Carriers must forge partnerships and open up networks
Tom Nolle, CIMI Corp
Service layer architectures must meet four main network operator requirements
John C. Tanner
It's not clear how consumers benefit from industry-preferred model of exclusive TV content contracts
Robert Clark
Try a checklist if your company has walls that need breaking down or information to be shared

businessweek_industryview

Douglas MacMillan and Joseph Galante
After years of losing ground to Amazon in traditional online retailing
Ivan Pepelnjak
Several solutions that attempt to solve IPv4 address exhaustion are network ready

MWC2010 List

MOBILE WORLD CONGRESS 2010
HTC guns for top 3 smartphone makers
Powermat wants to charge your desktop
Femtos outlook improves as cellcos seek offload options
Cheaper smartphones key to broadband takeup

lighter_side_telecom_career

Staff writer
Turning your mobile device into its own mouse
Nicole McCormick
Donald Rae takes senior VP post