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FCC Challenges Carriers on Wireless Fees

Mobile providers have long advertised great deals on smartphones including some marketed as "free." The one big catch is that most of these deals require a two-year contract commitment that includes monthly service fees.

As CIO Update reports, the FCC has been looking into these contracts and whether enough is being done to make consumers aware of early termination fees and other costs that can be easily missed in the contract's fine print.

The Federal Communications Commission is continuing its scrutiny of the wireless industry, offering a fresh batch of data points to make the case that carriers need to do more to clarify their billing practices and rein in fees and overage charges.

The survey highlighted two issues that have recently found themselves in the crosshairs of the FCC. It found that a large portion of mobile subscribers were in the dark about the early termination fees (ETF) carriers charge for canceling service before a contract before it expires, and that a significant number had experienced what the agency terms "bill shock," the unpleasant experience of opening the monthly bill to find steep overage fees for exceeding voice, text or data allotments.

"The wireless industry has achieved remarkable innovation -- and mobile is increasingly essential to the daily lives of Americans," FCC Chairman Julius Genachowski said in a statement. "But there is still more that can be done to help customers navigate what is sometimes a confusing marketplace."

Read the full story at CIO Update:
FCC Takes Aim at Wireless Industry Billing