Feeds

Telcos to shape up under new code

Comms Alliance lays down the law

Intelligent flash storage arrays

Australian carriers, voice services and ISPs will be forced to take their obligations to the rights of consumers seriously under a new revised consumer code from industry group, the Communications Alliance.

The new Telecommunications Consumer Protections (TCP) Code has been submitted to the Australian Communications and Media Authority for approval.

Changes to the voluntary code include unit pricing for calls, SMS messages, and data to make it easier to compare plans, tighter deadlines for operators to resolve complaints, stronger restrictions on advertising content, better pre-sales information, spend management tools, a new independent body - Communications Compliance - to monitor the performance of service providers in complying with the Code rules, stronger protection for customers concerning credit and debt management, and new obligations on suppliers in relation to vulnerable customers and meeting customers' needs.

Communications Alliance CEO John Stanton acknowledged that new requirements such as customer spending notifications may prove too onerous for fledgling providers.

“There will be some players in the industry who might decide to sell their business rather than invest in putting this into place. That’s also why we provided a period of 24 months for the industry to put that into place: it’s no trivial undertaking, if you are a small ISP in a country town, to realize that you have to make these investments,” he said.

The original draft proposal had only applied customer spend notifications to data; this proposal extends it to voice and SMS.

Another key part of the revision includes improved product information provided to customers in pre-sale – called the “Plan Essentials” which is a summary that will help consumers understand products.

“Many complaints that come to providers or the TIO happen because consumers don’t understand all aspects of the product they’ve purchased,” Stanton said.

In other moves, while the ACMA had asked for one-minute calls to be the standard unit. The Communications Alliance has stuck with two minute calls because they believe these are more representative of "real" call duration. The process of revising the Code included strong and collaborative involvement of key stakeholders, including consumer groups such as the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN), industry representatives, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC), the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy (DBCDE) and the ACMA itself. ®

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Brit telcos warn Scots that voting Yes could lead to HEFTY bills
BT and Co: Independence vote likely to mean 'increased costs'
Phones 4u slips into administration after EE cuts ties with Brit mobe retailer
More than 5,500 jobs could be axed if rescue mission fails
Will BlackBerry make a comeback with its SQUARE smartphones?
Plus PC PIMs from company formerly known as RIM
New 'Cosmos' browser surfs the net by TXT alone
No data plan? No WiFi? No worries ... except sluggish download speed
EE buys 58 Phones 4u stores for £2.5m after picking over carcass
Operator says it will safeguard 359 jobs, plans lick of paint
Radio hams can encrypt, in emergencies, says Ofcom
Consultation promises new spectrum and hints at relaxed licence conditions
Google+ GOING, GOING ... ? Newbie Gmailers no longer forced into mandatory ID slurp
Mountain View distances itself from lame 'network thingy'
Vodafone to buy 140 Phones 4u stores from stricken retailer
887 jobs 'preserved' in the process, says administrator PwC
Bonking with Apple has POUNDED mobe operators' wallets
... into submission. Weve squeals, ditches payment plans
prev story

Whitepapers

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk
A single remote control platform for user support is be key to providing an efficient helpdesk. Retain full control over the way in which screen and keystroke data is transmitted.
A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Saudi Petroleum chooses Tegile storage solution
A storage solution that addresses company growth and performance for business-critical applications of caseware archive and search along with other key operational systems.
WIN a very cool portable ZX Spectrum
Win a one-off portable Spectrum built by legendary hardware hacker Ben Heck
The next step in data security
With recent increased privacy concerns and computers becoming more powerful, the chance of hackers being able to crack smaller-sized RSA keys increases.