Some telecommunications customers experience financial hardship. They may need assistance from their telecommunications provider (telco) with arrangements to help them pay their overdue bills.
It is important that telcos have financial hardship arrangements to help these customers in need to:
- meet their financial obligations
- stay connected.
Four years ago, the ACMA recognised the significance of financial hardship in the telco sector, publishing the first of our annual State of play reports for the 2018–19 financial year. Informed by our research, compliance activities and industry reporting, our latest report looking at financial hardship builds on our previous work, and takes a more contemporary approach to examining whether safeguards are providing appropriate support to vulnerable consumers.
The Financial hardship in the telco sector: Keeping the customer connected report draws insights from a range of sources, including quantitative and qualitative consumer research (which is also available below), as well as information sourced directly from industry.
The data in this report is provided by 11 of the major telecommunications providers (telcos) offering postpaid services in 2021–22. Each telco had at least 125,000 services in operation.
Data was given in response to compulsory notices issued by the ACMA under section 521 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 and was analysed using descriptive analysis techniques.
Part 7A of the Australian Communications and Media Authority Act 2005 restricts our ability to publicly disclose information collected under notice without the telco’s consent. The information provided has been aggregated.
All 11 telcos that provided information for this report had a financial hardship policy on their website.
The ACMA's role
Protecting telco customers experiencing financial hardship is an ACMA compliance priority.
The Financial hardship in the telco sector: Keeping the customer connected report and associated research are activities undertaken to address this compliance priority and inform the review of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code C628:2019.
- Read previous telco state of play reports:
- Read the ACMA’s Statement of Expectations for vulnerable consumers
- Access the research questionnaire, quantitative report data file, data quality statement and glossary from our financial hardship research page.
- Access our resources to raise awareness about how telco customers having difficulty with their bills can get help.
- Find out more about our research program.
If you need help accessing any of our reports or files, please contact us.