Australian telecommunications industry body, Communications Alliance, has welcomed amendments to the recently altered International Mobile Roaming Standards (IMRS), which aims to give additional flexibility to Australian customers roaming abroad.
This is also expected to delay the imposition of new regulatory burdens on mobile service providers.
Under the amended standard, customer notification requirements that would have been imposed on MVNOs (companies that re-sell mobile services supplied by one of the three mobile network operators) as of this month will be deferred until January 1, 2019.
The amendments also give the mobile carriers and their customers more flexibility in terms of opting out of the use of roaming services, and/or opting out of receiving usage notifications.
The amendments come as a result of industry associations Communications Alliance and Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) working through the government’s red-tape reduction program.
The amendments also follow a direction by the Minister for Communications and the Arts, Mitch Fifield, to the industry regulator, the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).
Communications Alliance CEO, John Stanton, said although the streamlining of the standard does not go as far as industry sought, it is a welcome example of the government’s commitment to reduce regulatory burden where appropriate.
According to Stanton, it also recognises that improvements in the roaming marketplace during the past three years have largely overtaken the usefulness of the original standard.
“These amendments recognise that the customer protections built into international roaming products have improved dramatically in recent years, as service providers have committed to minimising the chances of customers receiving unexpectedly high bills,” AMTA CEO, Chris Althaus, said.
“Products such as data packs and unlimited roaming for a fixed daily fee have changed the face of international roaming and contributed to the halving of roaming-related customer complaints to the industry ombudsman over the past three years.”
The entire standard is due to be reviewed by the ACMA before June 2018.