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17 March 2014
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Operators urged to use credit alerts

Sirinya Wattanasukchai

Mobile phone service providers have been urged to provide systematic alerts for their customers to warn them about their credit use after many customers complained of huge phone bills.

Jandee Pattani yesterday said she was shocked when she discovered that her mobile phone bill last October amounted to 1.3 million baht.

The Office of National Broadcasting Telecommunications Commission settled the case out of court with her service provider, she said.

Thousands of other mobile phone users have also complained about their phone bills.

Most of them were using the international roaming service set up on their phones by local service providers. Some of the users sought help from the Foundation for Consumers who agreed to take a mediator role.

Currently, the foundation is trying to negotiate an out-of-court settlement in those cases and, at the same time, called for the companies to provide systematic alerts for their customers about credit use.

Real Future Co Ltd, under True Corporation Plc, yesterday, signed an agreement to cooperate over six issues such as limiting credit use for each customer; sending an SMS to alert a user when their credit is running low; and terminating the service temporarily if the bill exceeds the credit limit.

The agreement signing was part of activities to mark World Consumer Rights Protection Day today.

Currently, there is a service to limit credit use, said Saree Aongsomwang, the foundation’s secretary-general.

But the service is not updated in real time, resulting in the shockingly high bills.

In Thailand, there are about 93 million active mobile phone numbers and half of them are for smartphones.

The issue of expensive phone bills started a few years ago when smart phones came on the market, as many people do not know how to use them properly.

Duenden Nikomborirak, the Thailand Development Research Institute’s research director, suggested that related government agencies or local service providers need to determine an international roaming fee to be used for each country.

She also suggested that they have to set up a roaming tariff to be used among Asian countries.


First published: Bangkok Post,  March 15, 2014