Premium SMS Charges Barred

New rules mean consumers will be able to ban all premium SMS from their mobile phones.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has announced that new rules will come online on 1 July 2010, which will give consumers the choice of barring all premium SMS from their mobile phones and thus preventing unwanted SMS charges.

“If you don’t want these services, you can simply contact your phone company and ask for them to be turned off,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. “This will be a great option for parents who want to make sure their kids don’t sign up for something without understanding the charges. And people trying to manage their phone budget can stop premium charges by barring these services from their phone.”

The ACMA considers mobile phone companies should also move towards enabling consumers to request quick and easy barring via SMS. The ACMA will meet with senior representatives from mobile phone companies to discuss the introduction of this service for consumers and timings.

New rules to stop mobile phone companies engaging with rogue operators are also being developed.

Following the measures introduced last year, complaints to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman about premium SMS services have decreased by 50 per cent.

“That is a dramatic turnaround,” said Chapman “The ACMA expects this trend to continue and will be monitoring the industry closely over the next twelve months to ensure that consumer concerns are being adequately addressed. The ACMA has demonstrated its willingness to pursue, to the full extent of its powers, providers of premium SMS services that repeatedly operate in breach of rules governing these services.”