Comparing telco plans: Critical Information Summaries | ACMA

Comparing telco plans: Critical Information Summaries

Are you choosing a new telco provider or service? A ‘Critical Information Summary’ lists key information that can help you find a plan or product that’s right for you.

Our tips for choosing a new service can help you decide on the right plan and make the switch to a new provider.

Watch our video for tips to get yourself a better telco deal.

What is a Critical Information Summary?

A Critical Information Summary (CIS) is an important document that sets out a range of essential information about every product or service on offer from each telco provider.

A CIS will provide you with clear information about products, plans and services to allow you to easily compare what is being offered for both postpaid and pre-paid services.

Each CIS must set out key information about the service being offered, including:

  • a clear description of the service
  • the minimum term for the contract
  • any exclusions or important conditions, limitations or restrictions

Key pricing information must also be included, such as:

  • the minimum and maximum monthly charge for the service
  • the maximum fee for early termination
  • the standard charges

CIS must also include general information, such as a warning about international and national roaming costs, customer service details for the provider and Telecommunications Industry Ombudsmen (TIO) contact details.

What the CIS should contain

From 1 March, under the new TCP code, your telco provider must give you a two-page Critical Information Summary before you enter into a contract for a new service or plan. The CIS sets out information about products, plans and services so you can clearly compare offers for post-paid and pre-paid services. It must have: > Information about the service, including a description of exactly what’s on offer, the minimum terms, and what is and isn’t included. > Information about pricing—the minimum and maximum monthly charges, any early termination fees and the cost of a call, an SMS and a megabyte of data. > Information on where you can get all call and data from. > Instructions on setting up usage alerts. > Fees for using your phone overseas. > Contact details for your service provider. > Details on how to make a complaint.

Where can I find a CIS?

  • Check the telco's website
  • Collect one in-store, free of charge.

When should I receive a Critical Information Summary?

In the majority of circumstances, you must receive a CIS before you enter into a contract for a new service or plan, unless you buy a new product or service over the phone.

If you make a phone call to buy a new service or product, and you want to receive the phone without delay, you may choose to opt out of your right to receive all information contained in the CIS before the sale.

If you provide consent to opt out of receiving the CIS prior to sale, the sales representative must give you a general overview of the offer prior to the sale and then send you a copy of the relevant CIS by post within five business days of the sale. 

A sales representative must not try to persuade or encourage you to opt out of receiving the CIS before the sale. If you feel this has occurred, contact your service provider and discuss it with them. If your concern isn’t addressed sufficiently, you can make a complaint to your service provider or to the TIO.

Last updated: 03 March 2019