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Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

Senator the Hon Mitch Fifield

Minister for Communications

Minister for the Arts

Manager of Government Business in the Senate

Improvements to the International Mobile Roaming Standard

5 February 2016

The Government today announced amendments to the Telecommunications (International Mobile Roaming) Industry Standard 2013 (the Standard) that will give consumers greater flexibility in managing their roaming services as well as reducing unnecessary regulatory burdens on mobile operators.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) developed the Standard in 2013 to allow consumers to better monitor, manage and control their mobile service spending while roaming overseas.

Since the Standard was implemented, mobile operators have introduced a range of new roaming products which have made roaming services simpler and more affordable, resulting in a drop in related complaints to the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman from over 4,000 complaints in 2011-12 to just over 600 complaints in 2014-15 (TIO 2014-15 statistics report).

The amendments will strengthen the capabilities of the Standard by:

  • Giving consumers more choice in the ways they can opt-out of mobile roaming services.
  • Allowing service providers to provide the option for consumers to opt out of multiple spend-management notifications, giving consumers greater control over the SMS notifications they receive.
  • Reducing unnecessary message load on consumers by rationalising the number of notifications required to be sent, while reducing costs for service providers associated with sending multiple message notifications.
  • 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.

The amendments will be carried out by the ACMA and were developed in close consultation with key stakeholders, including the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA), the Communications Alliance (CA) and the Australian Communications Consumer Action Network (ACCAN).

The changes reflect the Government's commitment to maintaining key consumer safeguards while giving consumers greater choice in the mobile roaming services they purchase.

The Telecommunications (Amendment of International Mobile Roaming Industry Standard) Direction 2016 can be viewed online at: https://www.comlaw.gov.au/Details/F2016L00090 

Media contact: Justine Sywak | 0448 448 487 | Justine.Sywak@communications.gov.au

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