Wednesday, April 8, 2015

ACMA submission on wholesaler data usage

I've just made a submission to the Australian Communications and Media Authority regarding the 48 hour data usage reporting delay that mobile service wholesalers like Optus impose on their wholesale customers. This can lead to incredibly huge bills with no warning and no way to prevent the bill as part of the service.

The TCP ACMA bill shock provisions that came out of the RTC enquiry were supposed to prevent this, but left a huge loophole by permitting "up to" 48 hours delay in usage alerts and reporting. Optus, at least, appears to treat this as "at least 48 hours", failing to report usage until the 48 hour time. It was a limit, not a target, Optus.

The spend management alerts were supposed to be implemented by small providers by September 2014, but they have the same 48 hour exception:

Spend management
  • Suppliers to send notification alerts of data, voice calls and SMS usage within included value plans no later than 48 hours after the customer has reached data usage and expenditure thresholds of 50, 85 and 100 per cent.
  • Suppliers to include additional notification information about charges applying to included value plans when the customer has exceeded 100 per cent of data or expenditure usage

Industry players are seem to be using this to bypass the intent of the code, which was to provide "access to timely, accurate and comprehensible information about their service"