Telcos must highlight data-use clause for non-data plans

A main point of contention between telcos and customers is the charge on the use of data when it has not been subscribed to by customers, but is provided in a bundled package  ("Soon: New way to settle telco disputes"; Aug 6). 

This leads to problems with the phone bill because customers, when subscribing services in the bundle contract, were not informed about this particular clause.

Telcos should make it clear to non-data subscribers that such charges could be levied. Alternatively, they should exclude this facility if customers choose to go without any data plan.

Most customers, especially the elderly or not tech-savvy customers, would overlook the clause in the contract.

Wireless@SG is a boon for many mobile phone users who do not have any data plan and depend on Wi-Fi.

However, some users may not know that mobile service providers also bundle GSM, World Mobile and GPRS services in the mobile phone contract.

When Wireless@SG is not available, users are automatically linked to the Internet through these services, without any prompt or warning, causing them to incur additional charges for data usage.

I reportedly used such data one day in May and was billed $276, which is nearly the cost of one year of my mobile phone subscription.

I appealed to the telco, as I could not recall any reason I would have used the data, and the company could not provide any details on the use.

The telco removed the services and reduced the charge in the end, but it is still three times what I pay a month for my subscription.

I hope other mobile phone users will be more aware of this. I also urge telcos to highlight the presence of such services to customers when presenting the mobile phone contract, especially if the customer is elderly and chooses not to have any data plan.

Philip Sim Ah Tee