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Action on telco safeguards: January to March 2019

10 investigations 10 investigations commenced into telco compliance with the new NBN consumer experience rules, Mobile Phone Base Station Deployment Code and Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) scheme.

6 investigations 6 investigations finalised in relation to telecommunications safeguards—the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP Code) and Telecommunications Act 1997 (the Telco Act).

3 telcos telcos formally warned to comply with provisions of the TCP Code (SingTel Optus Pty Ltd, Telstra Corporation Ltd, and Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd).

Snapshot Snapshot on customer service performance of Australia’s five largest telcos in 2017–18 released.

Consumer consultative forumConsumer Consultative Forum held to consult with consumer representatives on issues including 5G technology and privacy.

The ACMA enforces a range of consumer safeguards for telecommunications. 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 consumer interests
  • 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 can 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 seven investigations into telco compliance with the Consumer Information Standard during the quarter. The investigations determine whether the telcos are providing key fact sheets and other required information to consumers.

We also commenced one investigation into whether a telco was meeting its requirements under the Service Continuity Standard, Service Migration Determination and Complaints Handling Standard.

A number of investigations are well progressed and will be reflected in the next report.

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

Figure 1

Other telco compliance activities

While the enforcement of rules that protect consumers as they migrate to services on the NBN is a key priority for the ACMA, we continue to undertake compliance assessments and investigations to uncover and address serious or systemic compliance issues related to other important telco consumer safeguards.

During the quarter we commenced two investigations and 16 compliance assessments.

We also completed a number of compliance assessments and investigations, as shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2: Other finalised compliance activities

Figure 2

Finalised investigations and enforcement actions

Enforcement action may be taken where breaches are found.

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.

Organisation

Details

Outcome

SingTel Optus Pty Ltd

 

Failure to provide information about products and services that may suit the needs of consumers with a disability

Formal warning for breaching clauses 4.1.3 and 4.1.3(d) of the TCP Code.

Telstra Corporation Ltd

 

Failure to provide information about products and services that may suit the needs of consumers with a disability

Formal warning for breaching clauses 4.1.3 and 4.1.3(d) of the TCP Code

Vodafone Hutchison Australia Pty Ltd

Failure to provide information about products and services that may suit the needs of consumers with a disability

Formal warning for breaching clauses 4.1.3 and 4.1.3(d) of the TCP Code

Three telcos*

Requirements to provide information about the availability of priority assistance.

No breach of the Telco Act.

* 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.

Telco customer service performance

In February 2019, the ACMA released a report on the customer service performance of five major Australian telcos for 2017–18.

Consumer Consultative Forum meeting

The ACMA’s key communications consumer advisory group, the Consumer Consultative Forum (CCF) met on 22 March 2019. The CCF brings together key consumer, industry and government stakeholders to discuss telecommunications issues impacting consumers. More information on the meeting is available in the outcomes document.

Compliance priorities for 2019–20

The ACMA has released its annual Compliance Priorities for 2019–20. Telco consumer safeguards and small cell base stations for 4G and 5G are two key focus areas of our compliance priorities for the year.

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