ACMA lines up 'bill-shock' standard

Phase-in starts September

Australia's mobile carriers are on notice to do more to avoid international roaming bill shock, with the Australian Communications and Media Authority setting the timetable for implementation of its International Mobile Roaming (IMR) standard.

Carriers will need to implement the items in the standard by September 2013, with resellers given until May 2016 for some items.

The key consumer protection measures in the standard are:

  • A notification via SMS to be sent to all consumers on arrival overseas, warning them that significantly higher charges for using roaming services may apply. This must be implemented by carriers and resellers by September.
  • Roaming opt-out, including from overseas locations, at any time. This must be implemented by carriers and resellers by September.
  • A notification to be sent via SMS to customers of service providers giving them pricing information for using a range of roaming services. These services include any that would normally be free in the domestic market, such as receiving a call on a mobile device. Carriers have to implement this by September; resellers have until 2016.
  • Carriers have to provide spent management tools by September; resellers need to comply by 2016.

“The standard extends the information which suppliers must make available to Australian consumers under the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code,” explained ACMA chair Chris Chapman. “They will now receive similar information when they travel overseas and use roaming services.” ®

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