The Australian Communications and Media Authority is consulting on proposed changes to the Telecommunications (International Mobile Roaming) Industry Standard 2013 (the IMR Standard).
The changes will:
- enable service providers to provide mandatory on-arrival roaming information to travellers in a single SMS, rather than in multiple texts
- allow service providers to offer travelling customers more methods to decline mobile roaming services at no or low cost
- allow service providers to offer their customers the ability to opt out of receiving roaming usage alerts
- delay requirements on mobile virtual network operators to provide charging and spend management information (originally due to come into effect from 23 May 2016) until January 2019.
The changes aim to provide more flexibility to industry while maintaining consumer protections and are in keeping with the Ministerial Direction issued on 1 February 2016. They also take into account developments in the mobile roaming services market and reduced complaint numbers related to roaming.
Further information is available on the ACMA website, including a draft of the amended IMR Standard and a consultation paper about the amendments.
Submissions are due by 30 March.
For more information or to arrange an interview, please contact: Blake Murdoch, on (02) 9334 7817, 0434 567 391 or email@example.com.
Media release 12/2016 - 25 February
The IMR Standard was made by the ACMA in June 2013.
It focused on four key consumer protection measures:
- a notification via SMS to be sent to all consumers on arrival overseas, warning them that significantly higher charges for using roaming services may apply
- enabling customers to stop international roaming, at low cost, at any time—including from an overseas location
- notifications sent via SMS to customers of service providers giving them pricing information for using a range of roaming services
- spend management tools, including notifications in AUS$100 increments for data usage and notifications at 50, 85 and 100 per cent of included value, if a customer has purchased an included value travel package from their IMR service provider.
The IMR Standard came into effect from 27 September 2013 and has been progressively phased in since then (except for the final tranche of rules for mobile resellers i.e. companies other than Optus, Telstra or Vodafone, which were due to begin on 23 May this year).
Improvements in the IMR market
Since the development of the IMR Standard, there have been several positive developments in the roaming market:
- the introduction of travel packs and/or roam like home options for overseas data use by major Australian providers
- the cost of calls, SMS and data (particularly as part of travel packs and/or roam like home options) has reduced in many cases
- a 65 per cent drop in the number of complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman about mobile roaming issues between the September quarter in 2013 and the September quarter in 2015.
As the IMR Standard was originally made in response to a Ministerial Direction, it could only be amended by a further direction. A copy, made by the Minister for Communications, Senator the Hon. Mitch Fifield, is available here.