Consumer Protection Standards
CTIA – The Wireless Association® and the wireless industry are dedicated to providing customers with the highest quality products and services to meet their diverse and changing demands.
In fact, all of the country’s major wireless carriers and most regional and local wireless service providers have committed to the voluntary “Consumer Code for Wireless Service.” Since it was developed in 2003, the Code has been nationally recognized as the standard to make certain consumers are informed about their wireless service options, fees and choices. It establishes a baseline set of uniform expectations and ensures consumers have access to information to make educated decisions about wireless products and services.
CTIA supports establishment of a national wireless consumer framework that would build on the industry’s current pro-consumer model practices, and encourages the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to support this pro-competitive approach that also fosters continued innovation in the fast-changing wireless ecosystem.
- Carriers Serving Almost 93 percent of U.S. Wireless Consumers Have Implemented the Wireless Consumer Code. Every major U.S. wireless carrier and most regional and local wireless service providers have committed to CTIA’s “Consumer Code for Wireless Service.” Carrier signatories must adhere to its 10 consumer protection standards, including commitments to disclose rates, additional taxes, fees, surcharges and terms of service; provide coverage maps; make customer service readily accessible; and allow a trial period for new service. While adherence to the Code is voluntary, CTIA carrier members certify their compliance annually and many far exceed its baseline standards.
- Wireless Customer Satisfaction Continues to Climb. In June 2010, the FCC released a survey that confirmed what numerous other third-party surveys have found – that 92 percent of American consumers are satisfied with their wireless service. As Consumer Reports magazine reported last year that after surveying almost 52,000 consumers, “60 percent of readers were completely or very satisfied with their service” as a result of carriers’ efforts to increase call quality and reduce connectivity issues, and policy changes to pro-rating early termination fees (ETFs) and eliminating contract extensions when subscribers make changes to their plans.
- U.S. Wireless Consumers Enjoy Unparalleled Value, Choices and Service Options.Bank of America Merrill Lynch reports that out of the 26 Organisation for Economic Development Cooperation (OECD) countries it tracks, U.S. consumers pay the lowest price per minute, while enjoying the highest minutes-of-use. Today, about 96 percent of Americans can choose from at least three competing wireless carriers, and at least 33 companies manufacture more than 630 different handsets and wireless devices for the U.S. market. Wireless consumers benefit from popular policies as number portability, pro-rated early termination fees, and an array of flexible service and contract options, including pre-paid, post-paid and non-contract plans. In 2010, the American Consumer Satisfaction Index (ACRI) found that wireless customer satisfaction set an all-time high for the second consecutive year.
- Wireless Carriers Offer Parental Tools and Guides to Help Keep Children Safe in a Mobile Environment. Parents have a variety of service plans, tools and educational materials to help manage their children’s wireless experiences. Wireless subscribers can get more information on specific parental controls and monitoring tools by contacting their mobile service provider. With support from the industry, The Wireless Foundation has launched several national education initiatives, including the “Be Smart. Be Fair. Be Safe: Responsible Wireless Use” campaign , designed to aid parents in teaching their children about responsible wireless behavior and safety. In addition, CTIA and its member companies have established Wireless Content Guidelines to provide a uniform baseline measurement for carriers to rate content so that parents can determine whether it is suitable for their children.
- Industry Urges Continued Enforcement to Protect Consumers from Unsolicited Calls and Messages. CTIA and its members are interesting in exploring how to partner with the FCC to better protect wireless users from unsolicited commercial calls and messages. Wireless carriers provide important account information as usage alerts about their voice, data and text services at no charge to the customer. In fact, restricting carriers’ ability to contact customers regarding their service would contradict FCC efforts to encourage consumer education. The National Do Not Call Registry gives consumers an opportunity to limit the telemarketing calls they receive on their wireless phones. Wireless phones can be enrolled in the National Do Not Call Registry by visiting its website.
Last Updated: October 2010