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News : ACMA Amends International Mobile Roaming Standard
Canberra, Australia, May, 2016 -- The Australian Communications and Media Authority has amended the Telecommunications (International Mobile Roaming) Industry Standard 2013 (the IMR Standard).
This follows a direction from the Minister for Communications in February 2016 for the ACMA to amend the IMR Standard to:
- let customers now have the choice to opt out of receiving roaming usage alerts
- allow telcos to provide mandatory on-arrival roaming information to travellers in a single SMS rather than in several
- give telcos more flexibility in the ways they offer customers the ability to decline mobile roaming services while travelling overseas, at no or low cost
- delay requirements that mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs) provide charging and spend management information from 23 May 2016 until 1 January 2019.
The amendments are set out in detail in the ACMA variation instrument, Telecommunications (International Mobile Roaming) Industry Standard Variation 2016 (No. 1). The ACMA consulted publicly on the draft Variation in February and March this year before finalising this instrument.
Changes to the IMR Standard come in response to initiatives proposed by representatives of the telecommunications industry, the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association and Communications Alliance.
They also take into account significant improvements in the products offered by the telecommunications industry for international mobile roaming since the introduction of the IMR Standard in 2013 and decreasing complaints about roaming to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO).
The IMR Standard was originally made by the ACMA in June 2013.
It focused on four key consumer protection measures:
- 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
- a notification sent via SMS to customers of service providers giving them pricing information for using a range of roaming services
- spend management tools, including notifications in AUS$100 increments for data usage and notifications at 50, 85 and 100 per cent of included value, if a customer has purchased an included value package from their IMR service provider
- enabling customers to stop international roaming, at low cost, at any time—including from an overseas location.
The IMR Standard came into effect from 27 September 2013 and has been progressively phased in since then, except for the final tranche of rules for mobile resellers—i.e. companies other than Optus, Telstra or Vodafone—which were previously due to begin on 23 May 2016 and will now begin from 1 January 2019.
Improvements in the IMR market
Since work began on developing the IMR Standard there have been several positive changes in the IMR market:
- the introduction of travel packs for overseas data use by major Australian providers
the cost of calls, SMS and data (particularly as part of travel packs) has reduced significantly in many cases
- a substantial reduction in the number of new complaints to the TIO about mobile roaming issues per quarter. The quarterly rate of new complaints in the December 2015 quarter was 57 per cent less than in the September 2013 quarter.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
Source: Australian Communications and Media Authority
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About Australian Communications and Media Authority:
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is an Australian government statutory authority within the Australian portfolio. The ACMA is tasked with ensuring media and communications works for all Australians. It does this through various legislation, regulations, standards and codes of practice.
Published: Monday, May 9, 2016