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Important changes to Ofcoms UK General Conditions - Roscom Post

Attention UK Mobile Operators: Changes to the General Conditions Come into Force on the 1st October 2024 – Mobile Roaming

First, a quick recap:

  • Since 31 December 2020 the EU rules on roaming charges no longer applied in the UK.
  • Since 1 July 2022 the roaming rules as previously set out in UK legislation no longer apply.
  • In July 2023, Ofcom consulted on proposals for new rules and guidance relating to roaming and inadvertent roaming. Feedback was provided by many UK operators.
  • On 22 March 2024 Ofcom published a statement: Mobile Roaming – Strengthening customer protections which will come into effect on 1 October 2024.

We are going to briefly touch on some of the specific risk scenarios associated with the changes, along with other roaming issues that we have identified in the past. If you are a roaming or revenue assurance manager we hope that considering the below list of self-assessment questions will help you ascertain if you are ready for October 1st.

The aim of the changes

The statement from Ofcom summarises the aim: “Requiring providers [mobile operators] to send roaming alerts so that customers can make informed decisions and are protected from unexpected bills” – Ofcom

Example Risk Scenarios:

You should be able to verify if the Welcome SMS (WSMS) roaming messages are received when:

  • Roaming in the EU
  • Roaming RoW
  • Roaming on 4G devices that do not have VoLTE capabilities whilst roaming in a VoLTE only location (e.g. AT&T USA)
  • Roaming on 5G
  • When a roamer travels to another roaming destination
  • When a roamer continues to roam for longer than 7 days

Other considerations:

  • Is the WSMS clear, comprehensible and accurate?
  • Does the WSMS direct the recipient to additional roaming information?
  • Does the WSMS notify the recipient that they can specify or modify a mobile bill limit?
  • Are you using a third party to provide the roaming alerts, if so, have they correctly rolled out the changes ready for October 1st?
  • If you are sharing a steering platform (e.g. MVNOs using an MNOs platform), then do your MVNO customers receive the correct messages?
  • Is information being missed off the end of the welcome messages (due to third party character limits e.g. 3 messages of 144 characters shown as a single message)?
  • Is usage in Ireland or Isle of Man considered as UK usage according to your business rules based to accommodate subscribers who live close to borders?
  • If you offer an option to activate EU roaming only, have you tested it outside of the EU to verify it?

Other roaming mishaps we have found in the past:

  • WSMS messages sent with old tariff information
  • Outdated operator names shown on WSMS
  • Failure to provide bundle depletion notifications
  • Failure to notify when roaming bundles expire
  • Unable to access balance information while roaming
  • Bundle activation via USSD failure
  • Message formatting e.g. apostrophes being shown as incorrect characters

Is there a quick way to check compliance with the General Conditions?

Real, independent customer experience testing can validate that the messages received by your customers are in line with the General Conditions. Our Osprey™ tool provides this testing capability. Provide Roscom with SIMs, we add them to our global roamer solution and testing can get started straight away.

To request more information on our roaming test solution please fill out the form below:

Roaming and International Testing Options
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