CTIA–The Wireless Association has released an updated version of its “Consumer Code for Wireless Service,” which was originally developed in 2003 to help consumers make informed choices when selecting and managing their wireless service.

CTIA said that while they periodically review the Code to ensure it reflects the industry’s innovations and consumers’ needs and expectations, these updates reflect the new and increasingly popular offerings by carriers.

The Code, which has been adopted unanimously by CTIA’s Executive Committee, includes new provisions that cover messaging and data services for both prepaid and postpaid wireless customers. It will be effective on January 1, 2011.

Some of the changes to the Code include disclosure of data allowances offered in a service plan, whether there are any prohibitions on data service usage and disclosure of whether there are network management practices that will have a material impact on the customer’s wireless data experience.

The Code also states that prepaid service providers must disclose the period of time during which any prepaid balance is available for use.

Signatories must adhere to the Code’s 10 points, including commitments to disclose rates, additional taxes, fees, surcharges and terms of service; provide coverage maps; make customer service readily accessible; and allow a trial period for new service.

Compliance with the Code is reviewed on an annual basis. Carriers complying with the Code will receive the Seal of Wireless Quality/Consumer Information, which they can display on their company’s website and collateral materials.

According to CTIA, the Code has been widely supported by many national, regional and rural wireless carriers including AT&T, Cellcom, CellularOne of NE Arizona, Clearwire, Illinois Valley Cellular, SouthernLINC Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile USA, Unicel, U.S. Cellular and Verizon Wireless.

The Code’s signatories cover almost 93 percent of U.S. wireless subscribers. Additional carriers have indicated they will comply with the voluntary code.

“When we originally developed the Code, many of the great innovative wireless products and services that are now seamlessly integrated in our lives were non-existent. The Code’s updates reflect how consumers are using wireless and to help them make the most informed and personalized choices,” said Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA.

He added that the new Code “provides consumers with a wide range of information about their service, disclosures in advertising and reflects the industry’s continued voluntary commitment to consumers’ best interests when it comes to wireless.”

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