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PostHeaderIcon Data Roaming Bill Shock Posted

The huge increase in so-called smartphone sales and the higher data usage which has come with it, is both a useful tool for users, as well as a potential money trap. These sales increases impact on devices such as Blackberry, iPhone and other data-enabled mobile phones. Mobile roaming now has another avenue for costing you more than you budgeted for when you travel overseas.

The Singapore Times is the latest to pick up on the phenomenon that operators hate to hear about - 'bill shock'

Telecom.Tv report that the reason is simple, somebody who appears ignorant of data charging, usually whilst roaming (in this case an MP no less) gets hit with a big bill and all hell breaks loose. In this case, Ms Lee Bee Wah chalked up S$1,700 (US$1,150) over four days whilst holidaying in Phuket by accessing her email, even though she avoided opening most of them. Who could blame her for not understanding the rules surrounding Data Roaming and how much data traffic is actually generated by smartphones? Is it the operators responsibility to educate their customers or is it the customer's responsibility to know?

Certainly the traffic is growing fast. Singapore's Starhub mobile network, for instance, has seen data traffic growth 7.7 times that of the same quarter last year, a trend also being shared by its competitors. As in much of the rest of the world, operators in Singapore offer 'all you can eat plans' or caps on local usage for standard plans, these do not apply once the subscriber starts roaming, and that's when the real problems begin.