Aust telcos to introduce unit pricing

Dylan Bushell-Embling
08 Sep 2011

In a bid to stave off further regulation and address customer dissatisfaction, the Australian telecom industry has revealed plans to introduce measures including a standard price comparison scheme.

Industry body Communications Alliance announced that its new Telecommunications Consumer Protections code will stipulate the implementation of “unit pricing” for calls, SMS and data usage. This figure would allow customers to easily compare the costs of services between operators.

The voluntary code would also see the establishment of an independent body to monitor operators' compliance with the rules, and the abolishment of the word “cap” in advertising about telecom plan pricing, unless it refers to a maximum cap on the charge.

There would be tighter deadlines for responding to customer complaints, and a set of customer satisfaction performance metrics that operators would need to measure up to.

The code is still not complete, and would need to undergo a public comment period and get the go-ahead from regulator ACMA before it becomes word.

But the timing of the Communications Alliance announcement is unlikely to be a coincidence - ACMA is expected to be publish its final report into customer service and complaints handling in the industry as early as tomorrow.

ACMA has threatened to impose further regulation on the sector unless it develops its own measures to reduce the large number of complaints about telecom services that are not resolved internally.

Communications Alliance said the new industry code was developed in conjunction with regulators. The restrictions on using the word “cap” were indeed taken from the draft version of the ACMA report.

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