Consumer guide: Mobile networks | ACMA

Consumer guide: Mobile networks

Consumers should benefit from improved information about what to consider when choosing a mobile network provider following the release of a new consumer guide.

A new consumer guide has been developed by two telecommunications industry bodies, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) and Communications Alliance (CA), following consultation with the Australian Communications and Media Authority.

It provides a concise but comprehensive overview of what can impact on a mobile consumer’s experience of mobile networks, including issues such as coverage, and the built and natural environments. The guide also explains what consumers should do if they experience problems with their mobile service.

‘AMTA and CA have again worked helpfully together to develop a customer guide on mobile network performance,’ said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman.

‘I congratulate industry on taking a considered response to addressing an emerging concern. The initiative follows a continuation of our Reconnecting the Customer program when we raised possible issues around mobile network performance in a discussion paper and convened a public forum widely attended by industry and consumers.

‘This outcome demonstrates the growing effectiveness of the ACMA’s tagline—communicating, facilitating, regulating—by illustrating how an emerging communications issue can be aired, workshopped and usefully dealt with, and in this case, effectively without any regulatory intervention,’ Mr Chapman added.

Mr Chapman was delivering the Keynote Address on the opening day of the 2014 Communications Day Summit in Sydney. The full text of his speech is available on the ACMA website.

This is but one of a number of more recent beneficial industry initiatives, several of which have followed consultation with the ACMA:

  • Following significant industry behavioural change since the development and registration of the new Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, (‘the Code), reductions in complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman to a six-year low in the December quarter 2013, with the largest reduction occurring in complaints about mobile services.
  • Industry’s foresight in establishing its Communications Compliance construct in furtherance of the Code, and industry’s impressive level of compliance with requirements to report annually to Communications Compliance.
  • The initiatives of major suppliers to reduce bill shock by changing a number of product offerings to reduce consumer risk, including consolidating roaming packages.

The guide is available on the AMTA website and the Communications Alliance website 

For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Emma Rossi, Media Manager, (02) 9334 7719 and 0434 652 063 or media@acma.gov.au.

Media release 21/2014 - 8 April

Backgrounder

Last year, the ACMA announced that it wanted to address the root causes of persistently high complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about mobile network performance issues. Mobile coverage, drop outs and slow data speeds are the most common issues of complaint by mobile consumers.

Following consultation with industry and consumers, the ACMA released a discussion paper on 9 October 2014. The paper explored:

>       the factors that shape consumer perceptions of good and bad mobile network performance

>       key technical aspects of mobile performance and network management

>       the stages of the consumer life cycle at which mobile performance may be most relevant

>       the information currently available to Australian consumers about the performance of mobile networks.

The ACMA hosted the Reconnecting the Customer: Mobile Network Performance Forum in Melbourne Square on 14 November 2013. The forum was well attended with significant representation from industry consumers and academics. It provided attendees with an opportunity to discuss and expand on themes explored in the discussion paper.

The Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman recently reported that complaints about mobile coverage have fallen 30 per cent in the December 2013 quarter.

Last updated: 07 October 2016