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Posted at 09:37 AM ET, 06/08/2011

Economic group urges rules to cut international bill shock

Customers are paying too much in international roaming charges when compared with domestic roaming rates, according to a report from the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

The report suggests that governments regulate international roaming plans to cut down on the bill shock. Policy recommendations include sending an SMS text message to users when they travel or limiting the price or amount of international roaming data.

The recommendations are similar to those in Sen. Tom Udall’s (D-N.M.) Cell Phone Bill Shock Act of 2011 and those proposed by the Federal Communications Commission last October.

Mobile providers and others who oppose these kinds of regulations say that it adds too much burden and cost to their businesses.

Countering those claims, the OECD said in its report: “While the implementation of consumer protection measures is not cost-free, the data roaming cut-off limit has been successful in providing protection against bill shock. It will certainly assist in avoiding situations in which users incur a several-thousand-dollar bill when returning from foreign travel.”

The organization looked at plans from 34 countries in Europe, Asia and North America. According to the data, North American customers pay the most for roaming: Canadians top the list with an average fee of $24.61 per 1MB of data. Next are Americans ($22.06) and Mexicans ($19.85). Greece, Iceland and Luxembourg have, on average, the lowest international roaming rates, each paying a little over $4 per 1MB of data.

By  |  09:37 AM ET, 06/08/2011

Tags:  International, Mobile

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