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Action on telco safeguards: April to June 2019

23 investigations  23 investigations commenced into telco compliance with the NBN consumer experience rules, Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code, Prepaid Mobile Services Identity Checks Determination and requirements to join and comply with the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme.

26 investigations  26 investigations finalised into telecommunications safeguards.

7 telcos  7 telcos issued with infringement notices for non-compliance with the Consumer Information Standard (one of the NBN consumer experience rules).

2 telcos  2 telcos given remedial directions to join the TIO scheme. One telco directed to comply with provisions of the TCP Code 2015.

13 telcos  13 telcos formally warned for non-compliance with requirements for provision of information about Priority Assistance, the Complaints Handling Standard (one of the NBN consumer experience rules) and the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code.

Revised TCP code  Revised TCP Code registered.

Draft revised  Draft revised Emergency Call Service Determination released for public comment.

The ACMA enforces compliance with a range of telecommunications safeguards. We promote responsible industry practice and monitor compliance and enforcement.

Approach

We gather intelligence about issues related to compliance or areas of consumer detriment and assess the level of risk. Our activities include:

  • Consulting with groups representing the interests of consumers.
  • Analysing TIO and industry complaints data.
  • Providing information to assist industry with compliance.
  • Undertaking compliance assessments, including audits.
  • Investigating serious, repeated and systemic non-compliance. Non-compliance could be referred to us by external parties (such as the TIO, Communications Compliance or Australian Communications Consumer Action Network), or identified by us.
  • Taking enforcement action where warranted

Compliance activities for new NBN consumer rules

We commenced two investigations into telco compliance with the Consumer Information Standard during the quarter. One of the investigations will also determine the telco’s compliance with the Complaints Handling Standard.

These investigations will determine whether the telcos are providing key fact sheets and other required information to consumers.

We also commenced nine compliance assessments—eight into compliance with the Service Continuity Standard and Service Migration Determination requiring telcos to ensure consumers experience a smooth migration to the NBN, and one into compliance with requirements under the Consumer Information Standard to advise consumers whether they can keep their existing number when migrating to the NBN.

During the quarter, we finalised nine investigations into telco compliance with the Consumer Information Standard and the Complaints Handling Standard.

Figure 1: Finalised compliance activities (new NBN consumer rules)

Figure 1  Finalised compliance activities new NBN consumer rules -Apr Jun 2019

Finalised investigations and enforcement actions

We consider a range of matters when determining which enforcement action should be pursued (if any), including the nature of the conduct and whether the telco has been the subject of other compliance or enforcement action by the ACMA and the outcome of that action.

Enforcement action may be taken where breaches are found.

Table 1: Investigation outcomes in the quarter (new NBN consumers rules)

Organisation*

Details

Provisions investigated 

Enforcement outcome

Provisions of the Consumer Information Standard

Aussie Broadband Pty Ltd

Australian Private Networks Pty Ltd (trading as Activ8me)

Business Service Brokers Pty Ltd (trading as Telechoice)

Flip TV Pty Ltd

Mate Communicate Pty Ltd

My Net Fone Pty Ltd

Simply NBN Pty Ltd (trading as Hello Broadband)   

Failure to make a ‘key facts’ sheet that meets minimum requirements available on the provider’s website, and/or failure to ensure NBN consumer plan advertisements meet minimum requirements for information.

Sections 7 to 11—making key information available to consumers with NBN ‘key facts’ sheets and consumer plan advertisements.

Infringement notices issued to seven providers on 19 June 2019.

One telco*     No breach finding against one telco.
Provisions of the Complaints Handling Standard

V4 Telecom Pty Ltd

Failure to meet requirements relating to complaints-handling.

Sections 7 to 21 of the Complaints Handling Standard—meeting requirements relating to complaints-handling.

Formal warning for failure to comply with the Complaints Handling Standard issued on 24 May 2019.

* The ACMA does not generally publish the names of entities that have not been found in breach, or where enforcement actions have not been finalised or published.

Other telco compliance activities

We commenced 15 investigations into telco compliance with the TCP Code during the quarter. Additionally, five investigations were commenced into compliance with the TIO scheme and one investigation relating to the Mobile Prepaid Identity Checks Determination.

During the quarter we finalised 17 investigations and 38 compliance assessments. Eleven of the finalised investigations related to the requirements on telcos that do not offer Priority Assistance services. Under the Telco Act, these telcos must tell potential new customers that they do not provide Priority Assistance services and name a telco that does.

Figure 2: Finalised compliance activities (other than new NBN consumer rules)

Figure 2 Finalised compliance activities other than new NBN consumer rules

Finalised investigations and enforcement actions

Table 2: Investigation outcomes in the quarter (other than new NBN consumer rules)

Organisation*

Details

Provisions investigated

Enforcement outcome

Provisions of the Telecommunications Act 1997

Australian Private Networks Pty Ltd (trading as Activ8me)

Aussie Broadband Pty Ltd

Dodo Services Pty Ltd

Exetel Pty Ltd

Foxtel Management Pty Ltd

MyRepublic Pty Ltd

Skymesh Pty Ltd

Spintel Pty Ltd

Southern Phone Company Ltd

TPG Internet Pty Ltd

V4 Telecom Pty Ltd

Failure to inform potential new customers that the provider does not provide priority assistance services, and/or failure to name a provider that does offer priority assistance.

Part 6 of Schedule 2:

  • Clause 19(2)(a)—inform that the provider does not offer priority assistance
  • Clause 19(2)(b)—inform of a provider that does offer priority assistance.

Formal warnings issued to 11 providers on 15 April 2019.

Provisions of the Telecommunications (Consumer Protection and Service Standards) Act 1999 about the TIO scheme
Air Networks Pty Ltd
Moove Mobile Pty Ltd

Failure to join the TIO scheme.

Section 128—requirement to join the TIO scheme.

Remedial directions issued to Air Networks Pty Ltd on 16 April 2019 and to Moove Mobile Pty Ltd on 15 May 2019.

One telco* Compliance with the TIO scheme. Section 132—requirement to comply with the TIO scheme. No breach finding.
Provisions of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP) C628:2015 about changing suppliers
V4 Telecom Pty Ltd Failure to notify customers of a transfer of their services. Provision 7.10.1 of the TCP Code—requirement to notify customers when their telecom services are being moved to a new wholesale network provider. Direction to comply with Chapter 7 of the TCP Code issued to V4 Telecom on 24 May 2019.
Provisions of the Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code C564:2011
Telstra Corporation Limited Failure to comply with rules for deploying mobile phone base stations.
  • Provision 6.2.6—complying with its consultation plan.
  • Provision 6.4.4—sending a letter containing the information to all interested and affected parties.
  • Provision 11.3.1—acknowledging a written complaint within 10 business days of its receipt.
Formal warning issued to Telstra on 16 May 2019.
Provisions of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628:2015 about code compliance and monitoring
One telco* TCP Code compliance monitoring requirements.
  • Provision 9.1.1—requirement to register with Communications Alliance.
  • Provision 9.4.1—requirement to provide mandatory attestations with Communications Compliance.
No breach finding.
One telco*  
  • Provision 9.4.1—requirement to provide mandatory attestations with Communications Compliance.
No breach finding.

* The ACMA does not generally publish the names of entities that have not been found in breach, or where enforcement actions have not been finalised or published.

Rule-making activities

Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code registration

The ACMA registered a revised and strengthened Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code on 1 July 2019, requiring telcos to promote and sell their products in a fair and responsible manner. Telcos must now clearly explain key terms and conditions enabling consumers to make informed decisions and to assess a customer’s capacity to pay for the service.

Emergency Call Service Determination: Second-round consultation

On 19 June 2019, the ACMA released a second consultation paper in relation to the review of the Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2009. Consultation on the draft Telecommunications (Emergency Call Service) Determination 2019 closed on 19 July 2019. The ACMA received nine submissions to this consultation. These can be accessed on the ACMA’s website.

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