Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy
Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy
Deputy Leader of the Government in the Senate
Minister Assisting the Prime Minister on Digital Productivity
Public consultation starts on new standard to help Australians avoid bill shock
Minister for Broadband, Communications, and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, today welcomed the start of public consultation into a new telecommunications industry standard that will help reduce bill shock for Australians using their mobile phones overseas.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is beginning consultation on the standard, which will ensure Australians receive detailed and timely information about international roaming costs when they travel.
“Australian consumers are being price gouged by telecommunications companies every time they want to make a mobile call, send a text, or go online, when overseas,” Senator Conroy said.
“These outrageous charges can result in someone returning home and finding that their mobile phone bill costs more than their holiday. It is unacceptable.
“The industry standard will be an important transparency measure. People will receive clear information about pricing, allowing them to better manage their spending and avoid bill shock.
“We also expect that the extra scrutiny provided by the standard will encourage telecommunications companies to reduce their obscenely high prices and give consumers a better deal when they travel.”
“I encourage everyone to have their say during this public consultation, which ends on 25 January.”
The draft standard would mean that a traveller receives two SMS messages when they switch on their phone when arriving overseas. The first would be sent within 10 minutes, warning the customer that extra charges will apply and allowing them to switch off international mobile roaming services. The second would arrive within 1 hour and must detail the cost for a standard call, an SMS, and 1Mb of data.
The standard also requires mobile phone companies to develop cost effective monitoring tools for consumers to use when they travel overseas.
The new standard is expected to be in operation by the middle of next year.
For more information about the ACMA’s public consultation, visit: http://www.acma.gov.au/WEB/STANDARD/pc=PC_600133
Date: 13 December 2012
Contact: Adam Sims 0408 258 457