Thursday, 19 December 2019 13:01

New protections against bill shock from mobile roaming charges 'enhanced' by ACMA Featured

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Rules to better protect Australians against the bill shock that can come from high international mobile roaming charges, have been emhanced by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

Under the current rules, telcos must send notifications about international mobile roaming charges to consumers, with the notifications sent by SMS text messages, so they can only be received by mobile phones.

The ACMA says this means that the growing number of consumers who travel with devices not suited to receiving texts, such as tablets and laptops, don’t benefit from these notifications and are at “greater risk of bill shock”.

Under the new rules, telcos must send notifications to any device capable of accessing international roaming.

The rules allow consumers to choose a preferred channel for receiving notifications, such as by email or through an app - and SMS can’t be used as a default channel for notifications for data-only plans, which are typically used for tablets and laptops.

The new rules will come into effect from 1 July 2020 under the Telecommunications Service Provider (International Mobile Roaming) Determination.

The introduction of the new rules to help prevent unexpectedly high mobile phone bills were first announced by the ACMA earlier this month when it registered the new rules for third-party mobile content services that are directly billed to peoples’ mobile phone accounts.

The rules were brought in accompanied by a warning from the ACMA that mobile content services, which can include ringtones, competitions, games and premium phone lines, can lead to people making unintentional purchases and running up the cost of their bill.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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