Go to main content
Consumers travelling abroad should beware of unexpected mobile data roaming charges
     The Office of the Communications Authority (OFCA) today (December 15) reminded consumers to be cautious about the use of mobile data roaming services while travelling abroad during the coming festive season so as to avoid mobile bill shock, i.e. unexpectedly high mobile data roaming charges.

     "Mobile data services are very popular these days. Consumers can enjoy such services with smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices both locally and while they are travelling outside Hong Kong. Irrespective of the types of mobile devices they use for web browsing or Internet applications, consumers are reminded that when accessing mobile data services outside Hong Kong, they would incur mobile data roaming charges which are much higher than local mobile data charges. In addition, downloading of large files or video clips, video streaming, access to mobile online games or automatic updates of applications may cause an unexpectedly large volume of mobile data consumption and result in a hefty bill," a spokesman for OFCA said.

     For their peace of mind when travelling outside Hong Kong, OFCA advises consumers to consider adopting the following measures to avoid mobile bill shock:

     If mobile data roaming services are not required while travelling outside Hong Kong, consumers may:

* before leaving Hong Kong, switch off both the mobile data service and data roaming service functions on their mobile devices; and
* request their operators to temporarily suspend the mobile data service before departure (some operators also allow suspension of mobile data roaming service while keeping voice roaming intact).

     If mobile data roaming services are required while travelling outside Hong Kong, consumers may:

* before departure, check with their operators on the availability of mobile data roaming services and roaming partners available for their choice in the destination as well as the details of the service plans;
* switch off the automatic functions of their mobile devices for updating applications/software, retrieving emails, playing video clips on social networking platforms and more;
* consider choosing a data roaming day pass with a charge ceiling or flat rate;
* when choosing a daily-rated data roaming plan, be mindful of its starting and ending time and whether the charges apply for each destination and/or the plan is only applicable to a designated network;
* consider purchasing a pre-paid SIM card that can be used at the destination; and
* while using a Wi-Fi system for accessing the Internet, check frequently to ensure that their mobile devices are not switched to mobile data services.

     "In some circumstances, such as upon entry into their destinations, consumers may receive notifications generated by individual mobile applications or greeting and promotional messages from the destination roaming operator or the home network operator, some of which may provide instructions that guide the consumers to select their suggested services. Consumers should be alert in responding to such instructions or hyperlinks as once they are triggered, mobile data connection may be activated, and that may incur high data roaming charges," the spokesman added.

     Additional consumer alerts on smart use of mobile data roaming services and data roaming day passes can be accessed via the following links:

* www.ofca.gov.hk/en/consumer_focus/education_corner/alerts/mds/unexpected/index.html
* www.ofca.gov.hk/en/consumer_focus/education_corner/guide/advice_roaming/smart_use/index.html
Ends/Thursday, December 15, 2016
Issued at HKT 17:34
Today's Press Releases