Last week, the Australian government announced modifications to the Telecommunications (International Mobile Roaming) Industry Standard 2013 : the objective of the amendments aim at giving consumers greater flexibility in managing their roaming services, including the reduction of unnecessary regulatory burdens on mobile operators.
Let’s have a look at the background of the Telecommunications standards: On 27th September 2013 the ACMA (Australian Communications and Media Authority) announced new “International Mobile Roaming Standard” for Australia with the aim of making consumers aware of impending bill shock.
This decision follows a report by the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman according to which complaints about global roaming charges soared by almost 70% in 2011-2012, while the proportion of disputed amounts above $5000 doubled in a year to over 10%.
Today, the International Mobile Roaming Standards provides for 3 key protections in favour of customers:
1- SMS notification: likewise in Europe, also in Australia SMS must be sent to consumers when they arrive overseas to warn them that significantly higher charges for roaming services may apply and to inform them about the pricing for using roaming services;
2- Alerts: operators must provide customers a way to stop international roaming, at low cost and at any time, including from an overseas location;
3- Send Management Tools: to allow customers to be aware about their expenditure (notifications at “$100 increments for data usage and notifications at 50, 85 and 100 % of included value).
- Giving consumers more choice to opt-out of mobile roaming services;
- Allowing service providers to provide the option for consumers to opt out of multiple spend-management notifications;
- Reducing unnecessary message load on consumers by rationalising the number of notifications required to be sent;
- Delaying some requirements of the Standard due to be imposed on Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNOs) until after a scheduled review in 2018, removing the need for MVNOs to implement costly IT system upgrades which could have resulted in higher costs being passed on to consumers;
According to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman, the implementation of the International Mobile Roaming Standard entailed a drop in related from over 4,000 complaints in 2011-12 to just over 600 complaints in 2014-15.