Avoiding Overcharges For Mobile Internet Access

Triggered by subscribers’ complaints on alleged overbilling by their mobile internet providers, the National Telecommunications Commission (NTC) came out with Memorandum Order (MO) No. 01-02-2011 on the subject of Internet Access Through Mobile Phones. The memorandum order is intended to protect specifically the postpaid subscribers of mobile phone companies using their  smartphones to access the Internet.  The alleged overbilling by the phone companies on the mobile internet access of some of their postpaid subscribers apparently happened because subscribers are not familiar with the technology that smartphones have nowadays.

In order to avoid the alleged overbilling by the postpaid mobile phone subscribers and to promote and protect consumers’ welfare and interest, I take note of the following provisions of MO No. 01-02-2011:

Dealers/retailers of smartphones such as iphones and blackberry phones are hereby mandated to inform buyers of smartphones of the settings and capabilities of said phones specifically the settings on internet access and the charges for access to internet. Upon the request of the buyers, the internet access shall be disabled.

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The mobile phone service providers shall:

  1. Inform their subscribers/users that there are charges for accessing the internet using their mobile phones. A notice shall be sent to subscribers/users attempting to access the internet through their mobile phones that access to internet shall be charged “x” amount per hour or per volume. The subscriber/user has the option not to use the service;
  2. Provide internet access service only to subscribers/users who opted to avail of such service;
  3. Send reminders to subscribers/users who have consumed at least 50% of the credit limit through text messages;
  4. Send text messages to subscribers/users who have availed of roaming services informing their subscribers/users to access their websites for information on applicable service rates and roaming charges. The information shall be sent right after the subscribers/users are acknowledged by the roaming partner;
  5. Conduct information drive on the capabilities of the smartphones and the responsibilities of their respective subscribers/users on the use of such smartphones.

You would notice that MO No. 01-02-2011 covered only the postpaid subscribers of mobile companies so how about the prepaid subscribers? Being a prepaid subscriber myself, I took the chance to inform NTC in a forum I attended last week about the need for us to be also protected. The NTC Commissioner who was there at the forum promised to come out with another MO for prepaid mobile phone subscribers.

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