Bahrain: Mobile phone users complain over high roaming bills

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Bahrain’s Telecom Regulatory Authority (TRA) has launched its latest consumer awareness campaign, aimed at informing the public of the risks of roaming bill shocks and the options available to reduce mobile data and phone bills while roaming abroad.

According to their latest consumer affairs roaming analysis report, TRA received roaming related complaints in 2016 amounting to more than BD40,000.

“While the report points to our awareness efforts making an impact, the amount of disputed claims remain relatively high, which urges us to continue educating consumers on how to avoid roaming bill shocks in the first place,” said Sheikh Nasser bin Mohamed Al Khalifa, deputy general director of TRA.

“We’ve taken some significant steps in collaboration with our counterparts in the GCC to enable consumers with better roaming rates in the region by initiating the GCC roaming regulation which puts price caps on roaming charges. This has been in effect since April 2016 and costs will continue to decline every year until 2020 in favour of consumer welfare. The focus now is to make residents in the kingdom aware of how to avoid bill shocks, which this campaign will aim to achieve,” added Sheikh Nasser.

TRA advises consumers to ask their telecom providers what roaming charges to expect before travelling and what the charges will be at their destination. Consumers can either subscribe to data roaming add on packages, connect to Wi-Fi where possible, or purchase a local prepaid sim card in the country they are visiting in order to avoid bill shocks, TRA said.

“It’s important that consumers know how to take advantage of these reduced costs which is what TRA intends to accomplish with this campaign,” said Mariam Al Mannai, manager of consumer affairs at TRA. “We highly encourage consumers in Bahrain to engage with us during the campaign and come to us with their questions. We have multiple communication channels including social media, email (consumer@tra.org.bh) and a dedicated hotline (81188).”

Multiple channels will be used during the campaign to reach out to the community to enable consumers to be aware of the methods and mechanisms available so that they take advantage of roaming rates, add-ons and packages that are available in their travel destinations.

Source credit – TradeArabia News Service

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