Economy of Hong Kong

SmarTone customers can cancel data plans

PUBLISHED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Friday, 17 February, 2012, 12:00am

Mobile-phone operator SmarTone has bowed to public pressure over its earlier data plan flip-flop by offering customers the chance to rescind newly signed contracts.

The offer applies to those who signed new unlimited data plans between February 2 and 12.

It comes after angry SmarTone customers complained to the Consumer Council following the operator's decision to keep unlimited data plans, just days after announcing it was scrapping them.

SmarTone announced two weeks ago that it would stop offering unlimited plans to new clients from February 13 to meet new rules requiring operators to make service details clear when offering such plans.

SmarTone performed a U-turn on Monday night and said it was resuming unlimited plans, but with a new restriction: subscribers who used five gigabytes of data a month would lose network priority during busy times.

The flip-flop upset some SmarTone customers who had rushed to renew their unlimited contracts in the two weeks before the new policy was expected to take effect. Renewing locked such subscribers into SmarTone for another two years.

Customers who had signed a new contract on top of their original deals are being offered the option to revert back to their earlier contracts.

Those who bought new handsets under the contracts are required to return the devices with their accessories, contracts and related documents to SmarTone stores before February 29.

The Consumer Council said on Wednesday that it had received five complaints and 32 inquiries.

SmarTone yesterday said it had not run promotions offering devices or service upgrades to persuade customers to sign additional contracts before their existing deals expired.

The operator also said it had not misled customers who did sign new contracts.