The EU has just started enjoying the fruits of the European Commission’s (the EU’s wireless regulatory body) labor to put caps on EU roaming rates, and the European Telecommunications Commissioner Viviane Reding is turning her attention to carrier’s wireless billing practices.
It’s well-known that operators like to bill customers on a per-minute basis – which means that all those 20 or 30 second phone calls are getting charged as 60 second phone calls. The European Commission said that they are “concerned that customers are being charged on a per-minute basis instead of for the actual time of the call…At the retail level, the difference between billed and actual minutes appears to be typically around 20 percent.”
So, chances are that you’re getting docked for 20% more minutes than you are actually using every month. And, if Reding gets her way, carriers will be required to bill customers on their actual wireless-minute usage, rather than rounding up to the nearest whole minute.
Reding also mentioned that caps on SMS text message and data services could be levied if carriers fail to cut costs to Reding’s satisfaction. Damn, she’s got some serious sway (read: balls).
We’d love to see per-second billing become an official regulation! We’re always making 20-second phone calls that get billed for a bull 60 seconds – that means we’re getting billed for 200% more wireless-time than we are using. It’d be nice to see this sort of consideration in The States. Go Reding!