15 October 2009
The ACMA wants feedback on blocking unwanted mobile premium SMS by 23 October
The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking feedback on its proposed new rules for blocking unwanted high-cost services delivered to mobile phones.
The ACMA released a consultation paper on 14 September, which sets out the proposed rules.
‘The ACMA considers that mobile phone users would benefit from additional control over their mobile bills,’ said Chris Cheah, Acting Chair of the ACMA. ‘Under the proposal, mobile phone companies will be required to provide blocking of mobile premium services for their pre-paid and post-paid customers by no later than 1 July 2010.’
‘If you are concerned about receiving unwanted and costly premium services, including on a mobile phone used by a child, it is important that you read the consultation paper and provide feedback to us by 23 October,’ said Mr Cheah.
The ACMA’s proposal could be implemented either:
- By default, where the use of mobile premium services on all new mobile accounts would automatically be blocked until the account holder formally requested otherwise.
- As an option, where mobile account holders could request their mobile phone company to activate blocking of mobile premium services.
These rules complement action taken by the ACMA earlier this year. In May 2009, the ACMA registered a new industry-developed code of practice for mobile premium services which came into effect on 1 July. The code provides a range of new protections for consumers.
Compliance with key code provisions is under audit and the ACMA is formally investigating 14 providers of mobile premium services of suspected breaches of the code’s advertising obligations.
The consultation paper setting out the ACMA’s proposal for blocking of mobile premium services, and further information on submissions, are available on the ACMA website. Submissions are due by 5pm on Friday 23 October 2009.
Media contact: Donald Robertson, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7980
A consultation paper relating to the Telecommunications Service Provider (Mobile Premium Services) Determination 2009 (No. 1) was released for public comment on 14 September 2009.
Submissions on the consultation paper are due by 5pm on Friday 23 October 2009, and the ACMA seeks to ensure that all relevant information and perspectives are considered.
The ACMA will require implementation of a barring capability for mobile premium services via a "service provider determination".
Service provider determinations are legal instruments made by the ACMA under section 99 of the Telecommunications Act and place obligations on carriage service providers and content service providers.
The barring determination contributes to the ACMA’s comprehensive package of measures to protect consumers of mobile premium services. The ACMA registered the industry-developed Mobile Premium Services Code on 14 May 2009 in response to community concerns about the detriment to mobile users caused by some industry practices.
This gave the code legal force under the Telecommunications Act 1997 and enabled the ACMA to direct service providers to comply with code obligations.
The code took effect from 1 July 2009.
More information for consumers, including a look-up facility to find the helpline number for a particular premium SMS/MMS service, is available at www.19sms.com.au.