Always on, racking up charges

Staff writer
24 Jun 2010

Bill shock hit home last month for Telecom Asia. The editor's 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.

The operator did finally send an SMS alert after about a week when the usage hit 130GB (at HK$0.10/kb, that's HK$13,000). After alerted, he tried to turn off the data service, but that's not an option on that Android model. Once the access point name is pressed, there is no turning back! (On the Acer Liquid - a newer Android model - the mobile network setting menu now has a "disable data connection" option. Wonder why?)

Meanwhile, he continued to consume data since apps such as Gmail, Facebook and some games automatically run in the background. With the operator saying they can't terminate the data service, he had no option but to stop using the phone.

All the talk of being customer focused and opaque pricing being a thing of the past is a farce.

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