At the tail end of 2011 carriers and the FCC agreed to new voluntary bill shock guidelines
, the agency driven by repeated stories of users facing wireless bills for thousands of dollars (or more). The bills are usually the result of customers who failed to read and understand roaming data rates, and carriers not exactly motivated to make understanding such rates easy. The conditions required that carriers clearly inform users of how much data they're using, something many carriers had already been doing voluntarily.
A year and a half later and the FCC gave an update on those efforts this week
, claiming that 97% of customers are currently governed by usage alerts in adherence with an April 17, 2013 "deadline." The FCC also provided a handy-dandy sheet notating that all major carriers now provide such alerts.
After the FCC threatened to pass regulations on the matter, carriers agreed to cooperate with these voluntary guidelines. The guidelines are not quite as tough as rules passed in the European Union, which allow users to automatically set a maximum monthly expenditure on data that it is impossible for them to move past without express authorization.
Anecdotal evidence seems to suggest a positive impact. We used to see story
about users socked with bills for tens of thousands of dollars. The number of those stories I've seen in the media have decreased substantially since usage alerts became more commonplace.