CTIA Signs Carriers to a Consumer Bill of Rights
By Eric Lin, Tue Sep 09 22:00:00 GMT 2003

Today CTIA, the US wireless operator trade association, unveiled a consumer bill of rights that US carriers have agreed to adopt. Customer service is predicted to be the main arena for carriers to battle it out for customers once number portability is enacted this November.

The code bears more than a passing resemblance to the Bill of Rights since it is composed of ten items, each a minimum standard for customer service. It covers everything from fairness in advertising to billing practices to a minimum 14 day trial period for new service. All six major carriers as well as a large number of local operators have all voluntarily agreed to adopt the code.

The announcement of this code comes at a time when the threat of losing customers to number portability is looming large. Operators as well as industry experts have stated that plan prices are already so low that price wars are all about impossible. However they all agree that customer service is one area where carriers can all afford some improvement and will likely be an arena for competition.

In addition to some good ole customer service, carriers are starting to offer other perks in an attempt to retain subscribers. Today Cingular, in cooperation with its land-line parents SBC and Bell South, have announced a new service called FastForward. Cingular customers who use either SBC or Bell South can forward calls to their landline from a Cingular mobile phone for free using a special cradle.

As November 25th, the day when number portability becomes effective, draws closer, there will likely be more announcements of new features and customer service improvements for subscribers.