Thursday, January 17, 2013

Israel Prepares for Bill Shock Prevention; Opt-In for Data Roaming

The Israeli Ministry of Communications published a call for consultation (here and below, Hebrew) regarding bill-shock prevention regulation for roaming services.

The ministry plans to amend MNO licenses, following complaints it got from subscribers getting huge bills, sometimes reaching 5 figures (in Israeli currency - i.e. over $10,000). This may be also caused, according to the ministry, by data charges for "always-on" applications, such as Email and other application synchronization, that the subscriber is not aware they consume data even if not actively used.

The main suggested changes for data roaming are:
  • New subscribers will be blocked for international data roaming and will have to opt-in for the service
  • Existing subscribers will be blocked for international data roaming (unless they are already signed to a special service plan)
  • An SMS will be sent to any subscriber reaching 50% and 85% of their data plan. At 100% the service will be blocked.
  • Subscribers trying to use data roaming, without a data package will be blocked and the MNO will have to send an SMS detailing the rates and instructions for enabling the service. 

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