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Published: Saturday March 24, 2012 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday May 25, 2013 MYT 7:24:58 PM

Know your smartphone or pay more

PETALING JAYA: You've given up your old faithful mobile phone and finally caved in to the lure of the smartphone.

Then you enjoy flashing your latest mobile gadget in public and pretend to be familiar with all its functions and offerings, including the all-important mobile Internet service to browse and send and receive e-mails.

But be prepared for a shocker as you continue to bask in the marvels of your speedy Blackberry, iPhone, Samsung or HTC smartphone.

Those who do not know how to fully operate the smartphone may be in for a “massive” phone bill shock from their network operator, as many new smartphone users have found out.

They are in the group of smartphone users who have not signed up for a data package which enables the use of mobile Internet service.

If one does not know how to manage the connections of the smartphone, a large amount of data could be “accepted” by the smartphone without the knowledge of the user.

Telecommunication companies have begun sending out SMS alerts and even contacting new smartphone users directly to alert them on their bills.

A victim, who only wished to be known as Agnes, said she was shocked to get a huge bill, adding that she was forced to pay the amount despite insisting that she had not sought the data.

“I received a smartphone as a Christmas present and got excited and wanted to use it immediately. I inserted my existing SIM card into the smartphone right away.

“I was shocked to receive a bill for RM324 which was three times more than my normal monthly charge,'' she told The Star.

Another unsuspecting smartphone user, Raja, found out the bitter truth about data usage when he was slapped with a RM750 bill.

“I tried reasoning with my network operator but to no avail,'' he added.

Both Agnes and Raja had not signed up for data packages, which can vary from as low as RM2 (daily) to RM120 (monthly).

A telco official said that the firm's call centre received about 20 to 30 complaints daily for data usage charges, with most users appealing for waivers on the ground that they did not know how to operate the smartphones' mobile Internet settings.

Fomca president Datuk Paul Selvaraj urged industry regulator, the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) to step in to prevent thousands of smartphone users from being charged excessively for data usage.

He said it should be made compulsory for smartphone distributors to provide their customers with an information sheet upon purchase.

“It will not be possible to regulate verbal information, so it must be handed to the customer in the form of a fact sheet.

“This will allow users to make an informed decision on whether to register for a data plan,” he said.

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