ACA sets more rules for premium service providers

The Australian Communications Authority has released its second set of rules designed to guard consumers against unexpected high mobile phones bills, with the second set of determinations specifically aimed at premium rate services.The Telecommunications Service Provider (Premium Services) Determination 2004 (No.

The Australian Communications Authority has released its second set of rules designed to guard consumers against unexpected high mobile phones bills, with the second set of determinations specifically aimed at premium rate services.

The Telecommunications Service Provider (Premium Services) Determination 2004 (No.2) will come into effect on the 15th of December this year, targeting premium rate mobile service providers that use numbers beginning with 191, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197 and 199.

Numbers starting with 191,193, 194, 197 and 199 are used for premium SMS and MMS content services such as sports updates, news, weather, backgrounds, arcade style games, video and polyphonic ringtones, while 195 and 196 number ranges are reserved for adult services, according to the ACA.

ACA acting chairman, Dr Bob Horton, said in a statement released today the new weterminations will require vendors to better inform their customers.

"Under this second determination, service providers will be required to inform their mobile phone customers about the risks, and potential for unexpected high bills, associated with the use of these premium services," Horton said.

"The objective of both the first and second determinations is to provide new rules for service providers to assist consumers in managing their telephone bills," he said.

The first of the determinations came into effect on 19 August this year, specifically affecting premium services accessed through the 190 prefix number range - such as adult chat lines, competitions and horoscopes -- as well as international numbers that are usually associated with Internet "dumping".

Internet dumping refers to the practice of certain Web sites who disconnect the computer from its usual access number and reconnect it to a new telephone number without the user's knowledge or consent, according to the ACA. The new number is typically an international one.

The service provider determinations were ordered by the previous Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Daryl Williams, in April of this year.

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