The Communications Regulatory Authority (CRA) has suggested tips for all consumers in Qatar to avoid roaming bill shocks during international travels for the Eid al-Adha holiday.
The CRA noted that the two service providers in Qatar have a diverse range of roaming packages and services to cater to a range of consumer requirements, and advises telecom consumers to make sure they understand the service they want to use before subscribing to verify whether their service provider offers a roaming package in the destination country.
Similarly, consumers are advised to carefully read the terms and conditions related to the specific service they want to use and clearly understand how much the service costs, according to the CRA.
It also advises consumers to understand the activation process before they travel and, if in doubt, to contact their service provider to clarify and to activate the package before they reach their destination in case they may need to use roaming data to activate the package and could be charged “out of package” if not activated in advance.
The CRA said Ooredoo’s pre-paid customers can activate Ooredoo passport by sending “OP” as SMS to 121, or via Ooredoo mobile app, while Ooredoo’s post-paid customers can activate Ooredoo passport, by sending “OP” for weekly or “OPM” for monthly as SMS to 114 or via Ooredoo mobile App. Vodafone’s Qatar pre-paid and post-paid customers can activate Vodafone passport by dialing *110*110# or via Vodafone mobile App.
Often, bill shock is a result of using a non-partner network carrier in the destination country. Service providers have mechanisms in place to automatically connect consumers to their preferred network partner (if available).
Consumers should verify with their service providers whether to keep network selection manual or automatic. Consumers, who have high-data usage, should continually monitor their balance to avoid incurring high roaming costs outside of their package.
Service providers are obliged to provide consumers with notifications before the package ends or is consumed completely. Consumers should take advantage of such alerts and manage their roaming costs responsibly, CRA said.
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Ooredoo’s pre-paid customers can check their balance for Ooredoo passport by sending “BAL OP” as SMS to 121 or via Ooredoo mobile App, while Ooredoo’s post-paid customers can check their balance for Ooredoo passport by sending “BAL OP” for weekly and “BAL OPM” for monthly as SMS to 114 or check via Ooredoo mobile App. Vodafone’s Qatar pre-paid and post-paid customers can check their balance for Vodafone passport by dialling *129# or via Vodafone mobile App.
Notifications also help consumers decide if they want to renew or stop roaming service after it expires or if consumers are overconsuming the service. If renewal of a roaming service is required, consumers should check with their service provider regarding the process of adding more allowance.
If using a monthly roaming package, check with the service provider if the renewal is automatic and plan accordingly. Finally, if consumers do not want to use roaming services while travelling, they should ensure to switch off their mobile roaming data option in the phone settings, the CRA said.
The said CRA it strives to help consumers make informed decisions when using roaming packages and services available to them when travelling out of the country as it is vital to stay informed about the data and roaming usage to avoid bill shocks. If consumers have any unresolved complaints with their service providers, the CRA said it is available 24/7 through its hotline (103) and mobile app ‘Arsel’.