Many telephone companies are now competing to provide customers with a range of telecommunications services. You can shop around for cheaper calls, attractive pricing plans, better service and a greater variety of services. You can engage a number of companies to provide your services. These services will typically include local, long distance, international calls and calls to mobiles.
Under current arrangements you are able to do the following.
- Pre-select–this is where you nominate a preferred telephone company to supply you with a group of specific calls. Whenever you dial a number for any of these types of calls, the call is automatically carried and billed by the nominated telephone company
- Use a pre-selection over-ride code–this is when you use a pre-selection over-ride code (a four-digit number commencing with '14') on a call-by-call basis to choose a company other than your pre-selected telephone company
- Transfer your existing telephone service to another telephone company
You can choose which telephone company you want to use and to switch from one telephone company to another.
The following information relates to your options for calls made from your fixed telephone service.
1. Pre-selecting a preferred telephone company
Aside from having a telephone company which supplies you with primary access to its telecommunications network (including your local calls, telephone line rental and service charges), you can pre-select (or nominate) that same telephone company, or another telephone company, to supply you with all calls that fall within the pre-selectable group or basket. That company will be the default telephone company for all calls in the pre-selectable basket until you change your choice.
Calls that fall into this basket are:
- national long distance voice calls to a geographic number;
- international direct-dial voice calls;
- operator assisted services accessed by the common operator assisted service numbers; and
- calls to mobile services.
This means that whenever you make one of the call types listed above, the call is automatically carried and billed by the telephone company that you have pre-selected. All other calls-such as your local calls-will continue to be billed by the telephone company that provides you with your telephone line.
Although pre-selection applies to calls made from your fixed telephone service to mobile phones, you cannot pre-select calls from your mobile phone.
The Pre-selection-Single Basket/Multi Service Deliverer Code (the Pre-Selection Code) provides standard industry procedures that must be followed by telephone companies offering pre-selection, such as notifying relevant companies when a preselection change occurs and ensuring customer authorisation has been given. The Pre-selection Code is on the ACMA website.
What happens when I set up a new service?
When you contact a telephone company for a new telephone service, you must be:
- invited to choose a preferred telephone company for the provision of the pre-selectable basket of services outlined above (which you can do in writing or over the telephone); and
- informed that a failure to choose a preferred telephone company will result in your access provider carrying and billing you for pre-selectable calls.
How can I verify which telephone company I am pre-selected with?
You can check which telephone company you are currently pre-selected with by dialling 12711 for a pre-recorded message.
How do I change my pre-selection choice?
You can change your pre-selection choice at any time by arranging it with the telephone company that is to gain your business.
There are rules about keeping a record of customer authorisation, so that any subsequent disputes about whether you properly authorised a change to your pre-selection choice can be investigated. You must provide the new telephone company with some form of evidence that you have authorised the change. Typically, you may provide the new telephone company with your written authorisation or a voice recording of your authorisation over the phone.
Are there times when I may not be able to pre-select?
Yes. While you have the right to change your pre-selected company, you may have contractual arrangements in place that enable your telephone company to make these decisions on your behalf. For example, you may have transferred your telephone service to another telephone company. You will need to terminate this arrangement first. More information is provided under 3. below.
Additionally, some telephone companies may request that you agree to pre-select with them for a specific period of time in exchange for cheaper line rental, call charges or other special deals. Pre-selection regulations do not prevent your telephone line provider from offering special deals or incentives in exchange for your agreement to not use either pre-selection or over-ride codes in favour of another provider. Changing your pre-selection during this time may mean that you may not be entitled to these special deals. This is a contractual matter between you and your telephone company.
2. Use pre-selection over-ride codes on a call-by-call basis
This is a good option for times when you may want to take advantage of special offers on long distance or international calls by various companies. You can access these offers by simply dialling the pre-selection over-ride code of the telephone company offering the special deal, followed by the number you want to reach. Some companies will require you to register with them before they connect a call using their over-ride code. If this is the case, you will usually receive a recorded message with a number to contact for registration when you use the over-ride code for the first time.
Using a pre-selection over-ride code will not affect your pre-selection arrangements.
Are there any restrictions on the use of pre-selection over-ride codes?
No. However, some telephone companies may request that you agree not to use the over-ride codes of other companies in exchange for cheaper line rental, call charges or other special deals. You may not be entitled to these special deals if you do not comply with the terms of your agreement. This is a contractual matter between you and your telephone company.
3. Transfer (or churn) your existing telephone service to another telephone company
You may choose another telephone company to provide you with your telephone service. Such telephone companies, known as resellers, often require you to pre-select them for pre-selectable services.
You then have one telephone company providing you with all aspects of your telephone service (including telephone line and associated service charges and provision of all call types). The Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628:2012 establishes processes that will enable you to transfer between telephone companies, by stipulating the maximum length of time a transfer can take, notification and validation processes, and mechanisms for avoiding invalid transfers.
Under this arrangement, you are transferring the lessee-ship of your service from your name into that of the telephone company and may also be allowing that telephone company to make pre-selection choices on your behalf. If you decide that this arrangement is no longer beneficial, you will need to terminate your contractual obligations before you can enter into another arrangement with another telephone company.
There may be other similar options that do not require you to transfer the lessee-ship of your service. You may wish to discuss these options with your telephone company.
What can I do if my services have been transferred (churned) without my consent?
Invalid churn occurs when a customer is transferred without consent. This may result from an error in processing data or where there is a misunderstanding over who is the account holder. If you have been subject to an invalid churn you should contact the telephone company that has incorrectly gained your services.
How will a transfer affect my telephone services?
The telephone company that currently provides you with a telephone service must continue to provide you with a service during the transfer. Your ability to make a telephone call should not be affected. Once the transfer process is complete, you will retain your current telephone number and any call barring or unlisted number status. However, your pre-selection status may not be transferable. You will also need to check with the new telephone company to determine if there are any services or features of your current telephone service status which are not transferable. Any queries or faults during this time should be directed to your current telephone company.
The ACMA has fact sheets on a range of topics.
Please note: This document is intended as a guide only and while every reasonable effort has been made to ensure the information is accurate at the time of publication, it should not be relied on as legal advice or regarded as a substitute for legal advice in individual cases.
The references to the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code are a summary of some parts of the Code and should not be relied on as a substitute for the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.
The ACMA makes no claim as to the accuracy or reliability of the information in this message or its suitability for any particular purpose. The ACMA will not accept liability for any loss, damage, cost or expense that may be incurred as a result of use of or reliance upon this information or any information on sites to which it links.