ACMA asks for feedback on new international roaming standard

The public consultation closes on January 25 and the standard is expected to be in operation by mid next year

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has released a draft International Mobile Roaming (IMR) Standard for public consultation.

It aims to improve consumer understanding of unexpected high charges incurred when using their mobile phones and other devices overseas.

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 an hour and must detail the cost for a standard call, an SMS, and 1MB of data.

It will also require mobile phone companies to develop cost effective monitoring tools for consumers to use when they travel overseas.

“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,” Communications minister, Senator Stephen Conroy, said in a statement.

“These outrageous charges can result in someone returning home and finding that their mobile phone bill costs more than their holiday.

“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.”

The public consultation closes on January 25 and the standard is expected to be in operation by the middle of next year.

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