Australian mobile users can look forward to less confusing mobile industry terminology if industry regulator Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) gets its way. The body has warned ISPs and mobile providers to clear up the various buzzwords they use such as ‘cap’ to help consumers enjoy more clarity of pricing plans.
ACMA is also targeting other industry terms in a bid to make consumers’ lives easier – the regulator wants to see a voluntary code of conduct in place to which ISPs will commit. Other industry terms are on the ACMA hitlist as it seeks to make the sector clearer and simpler for consumers.
Any companies which claim to offer ‘unlimited’ plans now need to clarify what they are supplying to subscribers. Many consumers remain confused about contractual details as small print often contains nuances about what is actually covered in their ‘unlimited’ contract, such as heavy charges for calling 1300 numbers.
ACMA wants all providers to remove the misleading word from promotional materials to help reassure consumers. In recent times some operators have taken steps to do this, including Vodafone removing ‘Infinite’ from plans and Amaysim including 1300 and 1800 numbers in Unlimited plans.
Sarah McDonald, spokesperson for Compare Mobile Plans, says: “We are really pleased to see ACMA taking this step, and it can only benefit consumers and the industry in general. Those providers which promise ‘Unlimited’ plans must deliver on that commitment or remove the term from their plans.”
Cap and Included Value
ACMA is also targeting misuse of the term ‘Cap’ in plans, unless providers are truly promoting plans which genuinely limit subscribers on what amounts they can spend on calls and data usage.
In its recent clarion call ACMA included a demand for providers to issue a ‘unit price’ for two-minute voice calls, unit prices per text and a standard cost for 1MB of data usage.
Visitors to Australia from outside the country regularly find themselves confused by the term ‘Flagfall’, which is linked to call connection charges – something which no longer exists in other western telecoms markets like the USA and Europe.
“There isn’t really any justification any longer for Australian ISPs to be charging for flagfall. This is another area where providers could help both the
industry and subscribers out by getting rid of it,” Sarah McDonald went on.
In recent times fledgling provider Amaysim took a stand and launched a range of no contract SIM only plans for Australian subscribers which don’t include any flagfall charges.
ACMA is also targeting included data contracts which can mislead consumers, in response to the high levels of smartphone penetration today enjoyed in Australia – the country is at 37% penetration right now.
“While ISPs and operators may find it easy to distinguish between ‘included data’ and ‘excess data’ plans, many consumers remain a bit baffled by them and need more clarity,” Sarah McDonald goes on. “Roaming charges is another area which consumers are still pretty puzzled by and they are fed up of getting charged huge sums simply for travelling – providers must address this.”
Comparing mobile phone plans
The variety of confusing industry terms around can make it hard to source and purchase the right subscription – but websites are here to help. Comparison specialists such as Compare Mobile Plans offer simple ways to calculate your needs and how much you want to spend on voice and data before signing up to a deal. The website carries all the latest offers from providers including Telstra, iPrimus, Westnet, Internode, TPG Internet and many more. Users can also compare the latest handsets and mobile devices on the site.
Via EPR Network
More Telecom press releases