Holidaymakers are psyching themselves up for summer break, and the only thing that they should be worrying about is surfing the waves and not the cost of surfing the internet when they are away. Recent EU legislation, which came into effect on July 1st, aiming to reduce the problem of ‘bill shock’ has set a precedent for the future of using mobile usage abroad by capping how much operators can charge for roaming.
However, at MACH Insights 2010, Chris Burke, Chief Technology Officer, explored the need for greater clarity from communication service providers (CSPs) in a much broader sense. He advocated that whilst smartphones have created a whole new world of possibilities for users, this progress has created a complicated environment overpopulated with devices, operating systems, standards and jargon. The evolution of the phone from a simple 2G voice device to also include 3G, Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, and networks soon adding LTE, has confused consumers with many unsure that if they are using Wi-Fi on their handset that it isn’t necessarily a carrier provided service.
Consumers are not being irresponsible or using their phones too much when they go abroad, they simply don’t understand the costs and what their tariffs mean. Many consumers therefore simply switch off their phone completely while on holiday as a precaution to avoid massive bills. The average consumer also doesn’t understand what a megabyte is and therefore a €5 per MB tariff is not helpful.
Rather than leaving customers feeling like it is taboo to roam when abroad, it is vital that everyone with a stake in the industry raises awareness and understanding of these issues. That is why MACH is facilitating relevant tariffs to deploy and stimulate the natural usage that is already there. Owning the subscriber (and the billing) is the most important part of the equation, but this brings with it a certain level of responsibility.