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FCC Considers Preventions for Cell Phone 'Bill Shock'

U.S. Cellular only major carrier that already protects its customers with free text message alerts

CHICAGO, May 13, 2010 /PRNewswire via COMTEX/ --Citing hundreds of complaints from wireless customers about the shocking totals on their bills from going over their monthly limits on voice minutes, text messages and data usage, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) is considering a proposal that would require carriers to notify customers before they run up excessive charges. Last year U.S. Cellular was the first to offer a free service to all of its customers that alerts them when they're approaching their limits.

"We believe that customers shouldn't be surprised when their bill arrives," said Alan D. Ferber, executive vice president of operations for U.S. Cellular. "Our customers told us that unexpected charges were one of their biggest concerns, especially those on a tight budget, so we created Overage Protection. Customers deserve to have a wireless carrier that is looking out for them."

Almost 25 percent of U.S. Cellular's customers have signed up for Overage Protection since it launched in November. Customers receive a text message when they reach 75 percent of their allotted minutes or text messages, and again when they reach 100 percent.

U.S. Cellular recommends that customers who consistently go over their monthly totals should consider switching to a different plan, such as one with unlimited voice, texts or data. U.S. Cellular customers can switch their monthly plans at any time without extending their contract.

U.S. Cellular has created other industry-leading programs that put the needs of its customers first. With Battery Swap, customers can come into any U.S. Cellular store and exchange a dead or dying battery with a fully-charged one for free. Its My Contacts Backup application, free to all customers, stores their cell phones contacts on a secure Web site in case the phone is lost or damaged.

"Wireless customers shouldn't have to rely on the government to fix the flaws in our industry," Ferber added. "We've always believed that customers should expect more from their carriers."

About U.S. Cellular

The 9,000 associates of U.S. Cellular believe a wireless phone enhances people's lives and a wireless company should be in the business of bringing people together. U.S. Cellular has a wide range of monthly plans, including those with unlimited nationwide calling, unlimited free incoming calls and options to prepay. The company has a growing catalog of phones like the BlackBerry(R) Tour and the touch-screen LG Tritan and HTC Touch Pro 2, which offer e-mail and Web access. Those features are delivered 10 times faster over U.S. Cellular's 3G Mobile Broadband network. U.S. Cellular believes in the power of the community and has made a commitment to invest more than $4.5 million in teachers and schools during 2009 and 2010. Based in Chicago, the company is the nation's sixth-largest wireless carrier, serving 6.2 million customers across the country. To learn more about the company visit one of its retail stores or You can also check out U.S. Cellular on Facebook.

SOURCE U.S. Cellular

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