KUALA LUMPUR, 6 SEPTEMBER 2016 – As thousands of Malaysians go to Saudi Arabia to perform the Hajj, the Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) would like to offer some useful tips and recommendations to all international travelers and globe trotters on how to avoid receiving a huge telco bill when they come back home.

The smartphone becomes an essential tool to stay connected with family and friends when we are far away from home, and with the availability of international roaming offered by the Malaysian telcos, calling back to Malaysia and sending updates via social media has become very convenient and seamless. However, consumers need to be aware of how much the different types of connectivity are being charged while they are overseas and what they can do to ensure they are in control of how much they are spending for the services.

“As such, CFM would like to wish all Malaysian pilgrims to Saudi Arabia a safe journey and may their Hajj be spiritually successful and rewarding. We would also like to share with them some information on how to stay connected with their loved ones back home without incurring excessive charges. CFM has seen a notable increase in the number of complaints regarding International Roaming year on year. As of July 2016, CFM has received 248 related complaints for both international voice and data roaming charges,” said Megat Ishak Maamunor Rashid, Chairman of CFM.

YearRoaming Data UsageRoaming Voice UsageTotal
2016 (Jan-July)21434248

(Complaints on International Roaming)

According to Megat Ishak, CFM will continue to increase its efforts to ensure that consumers are well informed and not short-changed by continuously monitoring the service delivery of the telecommunications service providers as well as addressing any breaches of the General Consumer Code of Practice for the Communications and Multimedia Industry in Malaysia (GCC).

GCC is a code of practice for all Communications and Multimedia service providers in Malaysia with the objective of providing benchmarks and best practices to ensure fair and satisfactory services are being delivered to the consumers.

To ensure Malaysian Pilgrims have one thing less to worry about when they get home, they need to understand how international voice and data roaming works and what are the charges for these services under their current mobile plan. This is very important as consumers are responsible for all charges incurred while overseas as these services involve not only their service provider in Malaysia but also the roaming partner in the country they are visiting. CFM would like to urge consumers to consult their respective service providers for more info on this. They may also want to explore other alternatives to stay connected with their family and friends while overseas.

If there are any unresolved complaints regarding your mobile data usage, consumers are able to send enquiries and suggestions through all available channels of communications, by calling CFM’s toll-free number 1 800 18 2222 or via email or through our complaints portal www.complaint.cfm.org.my. For more information, visit CFM’s website at www.cfm.my or write in to enquiries@cfm.org.my.

1Always talk to your local service provider before travelling overseas so that you are aware and fully informed of all relevant charges that may apply. Ignorance of these charges does not exempt you from paying them.
2Most, if not all, service providers in Malaysia has an international roaming partner in the country you are visiting and usually they provide special flat-rate packages for both voice and data when connected to them. Deactivate “AUTOMATIC CONNECTION TO NETWORKS” and ensure you are always connected to your service provider’s roaming partner to enjoy these preferential rates.
3If you just want to receive calls and SMS while overseas, you can choose to TURN OFF DATA ROAMING completely.
4Should you wish to stay connected only on WiFi only, you can choose to switch your mobile phone to “AIRPLANE” or “FLIGHT” mode and make use of public WiFi hotspots that are available.
5To minimize data roaming costs, turn off data roaming and consider communicating using WiFi only. A lot of mobile apps help you do this and consider communicating and connecting with your loved ones only when you are connected to a free or reasonably charged WiFi connection. A number of hotels and public places provide free WiFi to their guests.
6Alternatively, a cheaper option might be to get a local Saudi sim card. Do some homework on what is available and choose the best sim card package that suits your intended usage during the duration of your stay.
7There are also international sim cards being sold in Malaysia that you can purchase either online or at the airport. They might have a package that meets your needs and saves the hassle of registering for a foreign sim card.
8And lastly, before you leave Malaysia, please ensure that you have backed up all your contacts and important data in case you lose your phone. It is always useful to bring a spare cheap feature phone just in case or you can use this phone with a local sim card to receive or make important calls and switch your smart phone to wifi only.

About CFM
The Communications and Multimedia Consumer Forum of Malaysia (CFM) was established and designated by the Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission (MCMC) in 2001. It is a platform for the industry and the consumers/public to make coherent and constructive contributions to service improvements and policy development.

CFM is tasked with, amongst others, to promote the growth of Malaysia’s communications and multimedia industry and the protection of consumer interests by fostering the highest standards of business ethics and behaviour through industry self-governance. CFM is also a channel for complaints redress on Communications and Multimedia services.

If you have unresolved complaints about your Communications and Multimedia services, please lodge your complaint by visiting CFM’s complaint portal,www.complaint.cfm.org.my or call our toll-free number 1-800-18-2222. For more information, visit CFM’s website at www.cfm.my or write in to enquiries@cfm.org.my.

Media Contacts:

Noor Shahdiella Abd Mananshahdiella@cfm.my019-3246036
Roharrashidah Abdul Halilroharrashidah@cfm.my017-8961588
Razaleigh Zainrazaleigh@cfm.my019-4170766