A plan by the Federal Communications Commission to give wireless companies the ability to charge higher rates for customers who don’t have a wireless plan is the kind of policy that could cost consumers thousands of dollars, according to a new study from the Consumer Federation of America.
In a study commissioned by the group, analysts estimate that wireless companies would be able to charge consumers between $5.50 and $10.00 per month for wireless services, with a total bill of more than $10 billion per year.
“The wireless industry has always been very open about their pricing plans,” said Robyn O’Neill, a consumer advocate and research associate with the consumer organization.
O’Neill added that the plan would allow the companies to charge customers for “the costs of wireless networks, including data roaming, roaming fees, and customer data caps.”
In other words, it would allow wireless companies to increase the prices of their services by an amount that would be paid to customers in monthly fees, or by charging them additional fees to ensure that their plans are sustainable.
Under the plan, wireless companies could charge $5 per month, but customers could pay a maximum of $10 per month.
The proposal would allow carriers to raise rates for existing customers.
In other word, it allows carriers to charge additional fees for new customers to keep their plans sustainable, O’Neil said.
A wireless company would be allowed to charge a fee of $5 or more per month in exchange for new subscribers, with fees ranging from $5 to $100 per month if the company offers plans that include data roaming.
However, if the carrier increases rates on existing customers, it must provide customers with a refund of the difference.
Under the proposal, if a wireless carrier increases the cost of its wireless plans by $5 a month or more, it can deduct $10 from a customer’s monthly bill.
But if the new rates are less than $5 in the first three months of the plan’s life, the company can deduct the difference from the next three-month plan.
While it is possible for carriers to lower the monthly rates, there are some limits on how much they can do.
For example, if their plan allows for unlimited data, they can’t charge customers more than 10GB per month without having to increase their data cap.
The FCC is set to vote on the proposal later this month.
O’Neil called the proposal “completely unacceptable” and said it would be “a disaster for consumers.”
A wireless industry representative did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
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