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Commission Document Attachment

STATEMENT OF COMMISSIONER AJIT PAI

ON WIRELESS BILL SHOCK PRESENTATION

April 18, 2013

After a consumer opens his monthly phone bill, his expression shouldn’t mirror the iconic image
of Macaulay Culkin in Home Alone, hands slapped across his face and mouth wide open in shock.
I therefore applaud the wireless industry for providing free alerts to warn customers when they
are about to incur additional charges and to warn them again if they exceed their plan’s limits for voice,
messaging, or data. Transparency and disclosure can be invaluable tools for protecting consumers. As
we’ve seen in the wireless context, this goal can be achieved just by letting people know what they are
paying for the services they use. And because pricing plays such a vital signaling function in our free-
market economy, these efforts by wireless carriers also help the market operate in a more efficient
manner.
Of course, wireless carriers have a strong interest in providing good customer service; a happy
customer is much less likely to switch to another carrier. That may be why many wireless carriers are
going beyond the benchmarks set forth in CTIA’s Consumer Code for Wireless Service and are offering
customers a wide range of user-friendly options to track and manage usage. As we heard at yesterday’s
FCC workshop on this subject, all major carriers allow customers to check on usage, whether on their
devices or desktops. Some even let customers adjust their plans—without penalty—in order to avoid
expensive overages. Initiatives like these help wireless customers stay within their budgets, something
that’s important to us all in these trying times.
I thank the Consumer and Governmental Affairs Bureau for their oversight and ongoing work on
this issue. I also would like to thank the hardworking FCC staffers at our call center in Gettysburg,
Pennsylvania. I had the pleasure of meeting with them in January and was impressed by their
professionalism and dedication in responding to consumers’ complaints. For many Americans, they are
the face and voice of the Commission, and in that regard, we are fortunate indeed.

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