New MPS Code brings clearer information | ACMA

New MPS Code brings clearer information

Consumers will benefit from clearer information about mobile premium services (MPS) following the ACMA's registration of a new industry code.

Mobile premium services offer information and entertainment services like ringtones, wallpapers, games, music, horoscopes and news. Consumers buy and receive them over their mobile phone and are charged a 'premium' rate for them, meaning they cost more than a standard text or multimedia message.

The new Mobile Premium Services Industry Code, in force from 1 June 2012, provides tougher rules that will make it harder for MPS providers to mislead customers over prices, terms and conditions. Providers will now be required to:

  • use the terms 'subscription' or 'subscribe' in sign-up messages, to make it clear to customers that the service is ongoing and has related charges
  • inform customers using reverse charge services about call costs, terms and conditions before their call is connected
  • in an advertisement, print information about the cost of a service close to the number used to request that service.

The new code also makes the MPS industry more accountable by requiring mobile carriers to monitor providers' compliance with the code and report results to us. We have the power to direct providers to comply with code obligations and to take court action if necessary. Penalties for non-compliance can reach $250,000.

The code operates in conjunction with two service provider determinations that give customers the choice to bar access to all premium services and require all service providers to be listed on an industry register. We're currently reviewing these rules to make sure they're working effectively.

The previous code was put in place in July 2009 to address the unacceptably high level of customer complaints. While we're pleased that complaints have since fallen by 90 per cent, these provisions require industry to take further steps to stamp out rogue operators.

The code was developed by Communications Alliance, the telecommunications industry's peak body, with the assistance of an independently chaired working committee comprising industry and consumer representatives.

Last updated: 24 May 2016