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Action on telco consumer protections: January to March 2023


Key actions

Document icon Telcos blocked over 192.1 million scam calls and over 82.3 million scam SMS.
Document icon We published the December 2022 telco complaints report, showing improvements in telco complaints-handling performance.
Penalty We issued an infringement notice that resulted in a telco paying $253,080 in penalties for breaching Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) rules. We also accepted an enforceable undertaking from that telco and directed it to comply with the IPND code.

Direction or warning icon

We directed 6 telcos to comply with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code requirement to lodge compliance attestations with Communications Compliance (CommCom) in 2022.
Direction or warning icon We issued one formal warning to a telco for failing to notify more than 5,400 customers before restricting or suspending their services, as required under the TCP Code.
Document icon We directed 4 bulk-SMS providers to comply with the Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMS industry code, and issued one a formal warning.
Document icon We launched a consumer education campaign to raise awareness of assistance available to telco customers having difficulty paying their bills.

Telco compliance activities: 2022–23 compliance priorities

Protecting telco customers in financial hardship

In January 2023, we started investigations into 9 telcos’ compliance with financial hardship and disconnection notification rules in the TCP Code. We will publish the results of any breach findings.

In February 2023, we launched a social media consumer education campaign with a theme of ‘Tell your telco, they can help’. We provided updated advice and links on our website to make telco financial hardship support easier to access for consumers.

Phone scams

Telcos blocked over 192.1 million scam calls in the quarter under the Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMs Industry Code. This brought the total calls blocked to 1.15 billion since the code commenced in December 2020. Telcos also blocked over 82.3 million scam SMS in the quarter, with a total of 171.9 million blocked since the obligations commenced in July 2022.

We completed an audit of 9 telcos’ compliance with rules to protect consumers from fraud on their telco services and accounts. This includes unauthorised ports and SIM swaps.


Our audit of SMS aggregators’ compliance with new ‘reducing scam calls’ and scam SMS rules remains ongoing.

Other telco compliance activities

We started 21 investigations into telco compliance with:

  • various rules that specify how telcos must store and protect data (1)
  • TCP Code rules that set out how customers are notified of suspensions and disconnections (9)
  • priority assistance obligations (1)
  • TCP Code rules that require telcos to stop direct debiting a customer’s account after cancelation or porting (1)
  • legislation that requires telcos to join the TIO scheme (2)
  • anti-SMS scam rules (7).

We completed 18 investigations into compliance with:

  • TCP Code rules that set out how customers are notified of suspensions and disconnections (1)
  • TCP Code rules that require telcos to lodge statements of compliance with CommCom in 2022 (8)
  • identity checking rules for activating prepaid services (1)
  • anti-SMS scam rules (7)
  • anti-identity theft scam rules (1).

Our compliance and enforcement outcomes for the quarter included:

View our finalised investigations into telco providers. Please note that we do not generally publish ‘no breach’ findings or investigation reports prior to taking enforcement action.

We started 39 compliance assessments and completed 78 compliance assessments into telco compliance with a range of consumer safeguards. These included TCP Code rules.

In the previous quarter, we finalised 69 compliance assessments and 6 investigations. This brings our 2022–23 year to date (3 quarters) totals up to 192 compliance assessments and 31 investigations finalised.


Completed compliance activities

Completed compliance activities


Telco complaints-handling performance

We released the December 2022 telco complaints report. The weighted average time taken for customer complaints resolution was 4.6 days. This was down from 8.4 days for the same quarter last year.

Complaints per 10,000 services were up from 59 to 67. The escalation rate of complaints to the TIO declined from 6.9% to 5.8% from the same time in the previous year.

Key stakeholder forums

The ACMA-led Scam Telco Action Taskforce met on 15 February 2023. It is made up of industry bodies, regulators and other key entities such as:

  • the financial sector
  • Australian Federal Police
  • Australian Taxation Office
  • Home Affairs
  • Services Australia
  • Australia Post.

The taskforce discussed the threat environment, impact of scam reduction rules and the government’s scam reduction agenda.

The Consumer Consultative Forum (CCF) allows consumer, industry and government stakeholders to meet and discuss telco issues impacting consumers. The ACMA also holds 2 online meetings each year for the consumer representatives to share information and set CCF meeting agendas.

The first consumer representative-only video conference was held in February 2023. CCF members received an update on our compliance and enforcement activities and TCP Code work program. We also updated members on our efforts to address scams.

Members shared their own experiences, including issues with financial stress and hardship in the community, and concerns about telco payment methods and cyber security. The next CCF meeting is in May 2023.

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