Law & Policy, Telecom & Wireless

Mobile Operators Respond To Shocked Hong Kong Mobile Phone Users

Responding to complaints from mobile phone consumers in Hong Kong about hidden telecommunications fees and high bills, Hong Kong's Office of the Telecommunications Authority has taken action.

OFTA has published measures that have been implemented by individual mobile operators to prevent what it calls "mobile bill shock". These measures include allowing customers to opt-out of individual services; setting a charge ceiling; setting a usage cap for all kinds of usage-based mobile services; and alerting customers through short messages as their pre-determined usage threshold is reached.

In the first half of this year, OFTA has received a total of 535 complaints relating to mobile data services. This compares to 337 cases in the whole of 2009. Billing disputes accounted for 65% of these complaints. In some cases, the bill shock was caused by unintentional or inadvertent use of mobile data services.

"Concerned with the surging number of complaints, OFTA has urged all mobile operators to adopt measures to help address the problem. We are encouraged to note that not only have majority of the mobile operators responded positively to OFTA's appeal, in implementing in the past weeks a combination of our proposed measures to prevent bill shock, they have also undertaken to continue to enhance their initiatives. There is indeed room for enhancement for individual operator. We will continue our efforts in assisting mobile operators to improve their existing measures and introduce new measures to prevent bill shock," stated an OFTA spokesperson in a press release.

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