The ACMA has directed mobile premium service
providers AO Australia Online Pty Ltd (Australia
Online) and Network Nine Australia Pty Ltd (Nine)
to comply with industry rules or face hefty
penalties in the Federal Court, after it found both
companies breached the Mobile Premium Services Code
The ACMA found that Nine breached the code by
failing to advise of a helpline in advertising two
premium SMS competitions, Keno Million Dollar Comp
and Moccona Competition.
'The ACMA's research shows that premium SMS
competitions are popular with consumers, and the
code requires that consumers be given information
about who to contact if they have questions about a
service,' said Chris Chapman, Chairman of the
Australia Online breached numerous provisions of
the code, including failing to advertise the
correct price and failing to state that the service
was a subscription service. 'Providing clear and
accurate information about the price, terms and
conditions of a service is fundamental to doing
business,' said Mr Chapman. 'The ACMA will continue
to pursue service providers who are not upfront
with consumers about costs.'
Complaints about premium SMS fell 90 per cent
between September 2008 and September 2010, due to
the code and other regulations put in place by the
ACMA. While a direction to comply is the strongest
action available to the ACMA in response to a
breach of the code, the ACMA may request the
Federal Court to impose penalties of up to $250,000
if a direction to comply is contravened.
From 3 November 2010, if a premium SMS provider
does not comply with the code and causes
significant detriment to consumers as a result, the
ACMA also will be able to direct mobile phone
companies to not charge consumers for the service
The investigation reports can be
found on the ACMA website.
Information for consumers about mobile premium services is
also available from the ACMA website.