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Australian Regulator Consults on Blocking Unwanted Premium-Rate SMS

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The Australian Communications and Media Authority is seeking feedback on its proposed new rules for blocking unwanted high cost services delivered to mobile phones. The ACMA released a consultation paper last month, which sets out the proposed rules.

"The ACMA considers that mobile phone users would benefit from additional control over their mobile bills," said Chris Cheah, Acting Chair of the ACMA. "Under the proposal, mobile phone companies will be required to provide blocking of mobile premium services for their pre-paid and post-paid customers by no later than 1 July 2010."

The ACMA's proposal could be implemented either:

  • By default, where the use of mobile premium services on all new mobile accounts would automatically be blocked until the account holder formally requested otherwise.
  • As an option, where mobile account holders could request their mobile phone company to activate blocking of mobile premium services.

These rules complement action taken by the ACMA earlier this year. In May 2009, the ACMA registered a new industry-developed code of practice for mobile premium services which came into effect on 1 July. The code provides a range of new protections for consumers.

Compliance with key code provisions is under audit and the ACMA is formally investigating 14 providers of mobile premium services of suspected breaches of the code's advertising obligations.

The consultation paper setting out the ACMA's proposal for blocking of mobile premium services, and further information on submissions, are available on the ACMA website.

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Tags: australian communications and media authority  acma  premium rate sms  Australia