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April 24, 2012

TEMIA Addresses Outrageous Roaming Bills

By Patrick Lambert, TMCnet Contributing Writer

We've grown accustomed to seeing news articles about large phone bills – The flight attendant who went to the Dominican Republic, made a call to a plumber to fix his New York home leak and came back to a $400 phone bill. Or the professor who went to China, and even though he was careful about data usage on his smartphone, came back to a $2,000 data bill. Or just this month, the Texas A&M employee who came back to a surprise $10,000 phone bill.



Now, the Telecom Expense Management Industry Association (TEMIA (News - Alert)) published its thoughts about the phenomenon. This is the second time they’ve spoken out about the problem.

The problem isn't new or large; unexpected phone bills happen in all corners of the world. This is one of the results TEMIA published in their recent report. Whether it's a U.S.-based citizen with an iPhone (News - Alert), or someone from Japan on a metered plan, the problem is with roaming charges.

Anytime someone goes out of their local, usual coverage area and onto another network, the charges go up, and sometimes that increase is large. Downloading just a few megs of data, a few emails or Web pages can bring hundreds of dollars in roaming charges. This can be a shock, and a recent FCC (News - Alert) survey showed that 1 in 6 mobile user has, at some point, experienced bill shock for a large wireless bill.

But this affects more than just users. While the news stories focus on individuals, TEMIA says corporations suffer as well. Many companies pay employee cell phones, and this includes roaming charges. When someone goes on a business trip and returns with roaming fees, they may not see them because it's a work device. But the company gets the bill, and the shock that goes with it. This will keep happening with the proliferation of 4G and high speed downloads.

TEMIA suggests a few helpful tips to organizations, such as making sure to use the right plans for employees who travel often, keeping a close track on accounting, using statistics and visibility to see what those charges are.

Meanwhile, it's important for everyone to keep a close eye on their roaming agreement. Even if you have a data counter on the phone, it may not be accurate, and in the end it's what the network provider says that ends up being on your monthly bill.




Edited by Braden Becker
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