TELCOS will have to warn consumers of exact mobile charges while they are roaming and provide tools to monitor and manage their usage under new rules proposed on Thursday by the communications regulator.
The new draft international mobile roaming standard from the Australian Communications and Media Authority follows reports that complaints about disputed roaming charges increased by almost 70 per cent in 2011-12 to more than 4100.
Communications Minister Stephen Conroy said consumers were being ''gouged'' by telcos and slugged with ''unacceptable'', ''outrageous'' charges.
Mobile roaming complaints to the Ombudsman, Simon Cohen, represented about $8 million in disputed charges over the past 15 months.
The authority proposed a new standard on Thursday to resolve this issue, which will be in place by May. Public submissions are invited until mid-February.
ACMA member Chris Cheah said telcos would be required to send an SMS to customers when they arrive overseas to warn them of higher costs. Telcos would also be required to provide a low-cost way to stop roaming at any time and provide tools allowing people to monitor their usage and obtain running estimates of their costs.