Singapore’s industry watchdog the Infocomm Development Authority of Singapore (IDA) has told the country’s three leading mobile operators – SingTel Mobile, M1 Limited and StarHub – they must not impose an additional charge on existing 4G subscribers for using their Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks. In a press release yesterday, the regulator noted StarHub’s plan to start charging users an additional fee of SGD2.14 (USD1.70) a month, but said: ‘Telecoms operators should not change prices mid-way that affect customers with minimum term contracts, if they were not clear to customers upfront what those price changes might be.’ In its ruling, the IDA notes that the Telecoms Competition code clearly states that service providers should be ‘more transparent with customers about price changes, especially before they sign up for a mobile contract’. The watchdog bemoaned what it termed a clear lack of communication from cellcos that had resulted in widespread ‘consumer confusion’.
In response, StarHub issued a statement claiming that it had been transparent with customers over what it previously termed a ‘4G promotion’. Its statement said: ‘Details of this service, including pricing and promotion expiry have been made available in our sales and marketing materials as well as on our website since its introduction in September 2012.’