ACMA announces new international mobile roaming standard for Australia

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For Australians, taking a trip to an additional nation can truly spell disaster if you decide to use international roaming, with stories and grievances of costs shock on a high and expensive rise.

Complaints about global roaming costs shot up by nearly 70 per cent in 2011-2012, according to a report by the Telecoms Market Ombudsman, while the proportion of disputed amounts above $5000 increased in a year to over 10 per cent.

In August last year, former Communications Minister Stephen Conroy charged the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) to carry out a new mobile roaming standard for Australians telcos.

Today, the ACMA revealed the brand-new International Mobile Roaming (IMR) standard, which is to be executed by all Australian telcos by September 2013, while resellers will be provided till May 2016 for some of the products in the requirement.

According to ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman, the new standard extends “the information that suppliers need to provide to Australian customers under the Telecoms Consumer Protections Code”.

“They’ll now get similar information when they travel overseas and use roaming services, ” he said.

The four key protections

Starting from 27 September, TEXT notification will have to be sent to customers when they show up overseas to alert them that substantially higher costs for wandering services may use.

An TEXT will likewise be sent out to customers with rates info for utilizing roaming services, which includes those that’d usually be complimentary when back at home, such as getting a call.

Telcos will likewise have to offer customers a means to stop worldwide roaming, at low cost and at any time, including from an abroad area.

The IMR requirement also requires spend management devices for customers, including notices at “$100 increments for information usage and notifications at 50, 85 and 100 per cent of included value” if the consumer has actually bought a travel package.

The ACMA has likewise supplied a timespan for the execution of the new IMR standard for telcos.

Roaming rip-off

“Forewarned is certainly a bulk of being forearmed, ” Chapman said. “These new measures will help customers taking a trip with their smart phone to be much better equipped than before to prevent travel bill shock. “

The Australian Communications Customer Activity Network (ACCAN) has welcomed the standard, however ACCAN spokesperson Asher Moses thinks that even more should be done to end the “roaming rip-off”.

“Consumers have actually been gouged on wandering for far too long, ” said Moses.

“The standard won’t fix the underlying trouble, which is that worldwide roaming fees are still way too high and don’t come close to reflecting the true expense of providing the service. ”

“The excuse from carriers that they’re merely passing on the costs from worldwide carriers isn’t prodding, as essentially zero transparency is offered about how such inflated costs are obtained, ” he added.

The bilateral roaming

In 2011, an OECD report discovered Australia’s worldwide data roaming fees to be about $12 per megabyte, according to ACCAN in its statement, which places the costs as the 3rd highest in the world behind Japan and Chile.

ACCAN cited the recent Trans-Tasman roaming contract in between the Australian and New Zealand governments where both governments acknowledged that wandering rates were out of control.

The governments committed to pass legislation that’d have potentially capped roaming costs between the nations, such as has actually been executed in the European Union beginning from Monday, but the legislation hadn’t been passed in time for the last parliamentary hearing in Australia.

“ACCAN would such as to see similar bilateral agreements between Australia and other nations to assist decrease gross over-charging on roaming, ” it said in the statement.