Sprint expands usage alert program to include voice and text messagingAlex Wagner - Editorial Director of News and Content
Late in 2011, the CTIA announced that it was teaming up with the FCC to help fight unexpected wireless overage charges, commonly referred to as "bill shock." The plan was to have all participating carriers deliver alerts to consumers when they're about to exceed their monthly allotment of voice minutes, text messages, data and international roaming. Operators were expected to offer alerts for two of the four services by October 2012, with alerts for all four services due before April 2013.
Today Sprint announced that it has expanded its usage alert system to include both voice minutes and messaging in addition to the data and international roaming alerts that it already offers. Alerts are set up to be sent as text messages by default, but can also be sent as an email. Here's the breakdown of when consumers will receive alerts from Sprint:
- Voice: Primary account holder will receive an alert once he or she consumes 85 percent and 100 percent of the account's allotment of minutes.
- Messaging: Primary account holder will be sent an alert after reaching 85 percent and 100 percent of the plan limit.
- Data: Primary account holder of data plans (for things like hotspots and tablets) and phone add-ons (mobile hotspot) will receive an alert after reaching 75, 90 and 100 percent of their data allotment. Alerts will also be sent at 20 percent increments after the original data allotment has been consumed. Sprint notes that it allows unlimited data usage on handsets, and so it wouldn't send an alert for that type of usage.
- International roaming: Sprint sends one "Welcome" message when a customer lands in a foreign country that includes the voice, text and data rates for that area. Alerts will be sent in $50 increments for data roaming, and users will be required to opt in when they reach the $100 and $300 usage thresholds. At $500, data usage will be suspended, but can be restored by contacting Sprint. Customers will also need to opt-in when they reach their international roaming data threshold and after hitting $300 in overage fees.
It can be tough for some folks to keep track of the minutes, messages and megabytes that they've got left in their billing cycle, and so alerts like these can come in handy to let those types of consumers know when they're getting close to their threshold and are about to incur overage fees. We've been expecting to see more alerts for these services introduced thanks to the CTIA and FCC's "Wireless Consumer Usage Notification Guidelines" plan, and now it looks like Sprint has launched all four necessary alerts around a month and a half before the deadline. Sprint customers interested in signing up for these alerts or changing how they're sent can access the controls through Sprint Ready Now or Sprint's website.