Mobile Phones

Culture Media and Sport written question – answered on 8th May 2014.

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Photo of John Leech John Leech Liberal Democrat, Manchester, Withington

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport if he will bring forward legislative proposals to introduce a cap on data charges which can be imposed by mobile telephone operators.

Photo of Ed Vaizey Ed Vaizey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport

On 3 December, the Government announced they had reached agreement with the mobile network operators and other telecommunications providers1 as part of the Telecoms Consumer Action Plan2. Working with Government and Ofcom, major telecoms companies have agreed to reduce the risk of unexpectedly high bills. As a result, all of the main operators now provide ‘near data allowance’ alerts to help consumers manage their data usage. They have also increased the visibility and usability of other usage monitoring tools, such as apps. Some operators also offer spend caps to help limit any out-of-allowance charges that consumers may incur.

In addition, customers who use data while abroad are protected by the Roaming Regulations. These limit the amount that operators can charge for data roaming within the EU. They also require all mobile operators to apply a cut-off limit once consumers have used €50 (excluding VAT) of data per month (within or outside of the EU), unless the consumer has opted for another limit. The provider must send an alert when the consumer has reached 80% and then 100% of the agreed data roaming limit, and must stop charging at the 100% point unless the consumer consents to continuing to use data.

1 3, BT, EE, Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media and Vodafone

2 https://www.gov.uk/government/news/government-vows-to-end-unfair-consumer-bill-and-subscription-practices

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