The ACMA introduces new identity-checking rules for prepaid mobile services

The ACMA has made the Telecommunications (Service Provider - Identity Checks for Prepaid Mobile Carriage Services) Determination 2013 under subsection 99(1) of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth). Key features of the Determination, which commenced on 30 October 2013, include:

  • allowing prepaid mobile service providers to verify a person's identity via a government e-verification system;
  • allowing prepaid mobile service providers to verify a person's identity via confirmation of an existing post-paid account, Australian financial account or trusted email address; and
  • imposing restrictions on collecting, recording and copying personal information in the identity-checking process.

For more information, please see the ACMA media release.

The ACCC seeks variation of NBN Co Special Access Undertaking

On 8 October 2013 the ACCC released a Notice to Vary formally seeking changes to the Special Access Undertaking (SAU) offered by NBN Co in 2012. The SAU will be a key element of the framework governing price and other terms upon which NBN Co will supply its services until 2040.

Key changes in the Notice to Vary include:

  • increasing the number of price reviews the ACCC may undertake during the NBN rollout period from one to two;
  • new provisions preventing NBN Co from making variations to an existing product that reduce the functionality, performance or features of the product; and
  • further changes relating to the ACCC’s assessment of the prudency and efficiency of NBN Co’s capital expenditure during the rollout period.

NBN Co has until 19 November 2013 to respond to the Notice to Vary.

Please click on the link to view the Notice to Vary and other related documents.

For more information please see the ACCC media release.

The ACMA releases figures on TCP Code compliance

The ACMA has released a set of figures summarising compliance in the first year of operation of the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code 2012 (TCP Code). The figures reveal that in the first year:

  • 224 telecommunications providers submitted code compliance statements to Communications Compliance (the industry body established to encourage compliance), as required under the TCP Code; and
  • the ACMA made 99 TCP Code breach findings, and gave formal warnings to 95 telecommunications providers for failing to lodge statements with Communications Compliance.

For more information, please see the ACMA media release.

The ACMA releases discussion paper for public forum on consumers' experience of mobile network performance

The ACMA will be hosting a public forum in Melbourne on 14 November to explore consumers' understanding and experience of mobile network performance and has released a discussion paper to be tabled at the forum. The discussion paper focusses on the factors that shape consumers perceptions of mobile network performance, key technical aspects of mobile performance and network management, and information currently available to consumers about mobile network performance.

Please click on the link for a copy of the discussion paper.

The TIO and the ACMA release Annual Reports

The TIO and the ACMA have both released their annual reports for 2012-13.

  • The TIO Annual Report indicates that consumer complaints have decreased and are at their lowest level since 2008-09, with fewer complaints for Telstra, Vodafone and Optus. However, the TIO referred 19 providers to the ACMA for failure to join the TIO Scheme.
  • The ACMA Annual Report highlights that the ACMA's 2012-13 year was defined by major projects, including the introduction of the TCP Code and the digital dividend spectrum auction.

Please click on the link for a copy of the TIO Annual Report. To view the report online, please click here.

Please click on the link for a copy of the ACMA Annual Report.

NBN Co Updates

As of 30 October 2013, the company overseeing the rollout of the National Broadband Network will now publish weekly (rather than quarterly) reports tracking the progress of the rollout. The weekly reporting requirement is designed to increase scrutiny and transparency of NBN Co and its activities.

To view the weekly progress reports, including in chart form, please click here.

The ACMA restricts import and manufacture of wireless microphones from January 2014

The ACMA has revised its regulations to restrict the supply of wireless audio transmitters that operate in the 694-820 megahertz (MHz) frequency range into the Australian market from 1 January 2014. From that date, suppliers will be unable to import, manufacture or sell wireless audio transmitters that operate in the 694-820 MHz range. The new regulations support the use of the 694-820 MHz frequency range by telecommunications companies to provide 4G mobile broadband services from January 2015, and are designed to prevent consumers being sold wireless microphones that use this range.

For more information, please see the ACMA media release.