As the annual holiday season approaches, the Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has alerted all consumers to ensure that they are familiar with their service provider’s roaming packages and services if they plan to use their Qatar SIM cards aboard.
Both service providers in Qatar have products catering to travelling consumers but it is the consumer’s responsibility to understand the related terms and conditions such as the cost of roaming services and the process to monitor usage, CRA has said in a statement.
In addition, it is important to check before travelling if the service provider offers roaming service in the destination country.
Amel Salem al-Hanawi
“CRA typically receives a high volume of complaints from consumers related to roaming following the holiday season. CRA strives to help consumers make informed decisions when using roaming packages and services available to them when travelling out of the country. If consumers have any unresolved complaints with their service providers CRA is available 24/7 through its hotline 103 and mobile app, ‘Arsel’. However, it’s still important for consumers to stay informed about their data and roaming usage to avoid bill shock,” said Amel Salem al-Hanawi, CRA’s consumer affairs manager.
Most common complaints related to roaming services, received by CRA, are a result of the consumer using the wrong network carrier, over-consumption of roaming data (exceeding set limit) or misinformation about the activation and termination process, the statement points out.
To ensure a smooth experience of using communications services abroad, consumers should call their service provider beforehand or visit their website to read available information.
Also, where possible, they should activate the package before travelling so that they do not incur any unnecessary roaming charges at the destination.
Consumers should also stay informed of the networks that their service provider has partnered with in the destination country.
Ideally, network selection should be turned to manual mode in settings of mobile devices to ensure that a strong non-partnering network is not selected automatically.
Further, CRA has said consumers should become aware of their selected roaming package and continually monitor their balance to avoid incurring high roaming costs outside of the package.
The service providers are obliged to provide consumers notifications before the package ends or it is consumed completely.
Users should take advantage of such alerts and manage their roaming costs responsibly.
If their allowance is finished before the expiry of the existing roaming service, they should check with their service provider the process of adding more allowance.
If using a monthly roaming package, they should check with the service provider if the renewal is automatic and plan accordingly.
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