Communications Alliance Ltd and WMC Global are responsible for governing premium and standard rate short codes in Australia:
The Mobile Premium Services Code (C637:2009) and The Guidelines to the Code (G638:2009) were registered by the Australian Government's Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) under the Telecommunications Act (1997) on 14 May 2009 and took effect on 1 July 2009. The Code replaced the MPSI Scheme, which along with the Telecommunications Service Provider (Mobile Premium Services) Determination 2005 was repealed by the ACMA on 1 July 2009. The Code applies to carriage service providers, aggregators and content providers and its objective is to establish appropriate community safeguards and customer service requirements for Mobile Premium Services. The ACMA SPAM Act must also be observed in Australia.
WMC Global are employed by the Australian carriers Telstra and Optus. WMC intercept non-compliant promotions via their PSMS Industry Monitor service. They audit, and report to the carriers on programmes and related SMS message flows in Australia as well as in the U.S. and the U.K.. WMC Global via their PSMS Monitor online platform relay the audit details to you to rectify the breach, or notify of code termination. If the breach is major or not resolved in a short timeframe the code gets suspended on the affected carrier. If you do not understand any item listed in the infringement notice call WMC as soon as possible (within 1 business day) on +61 (0)2 9959 1001 to obtain clarification. DO NOT SEND QUESTIONS TO WMC BY EMAIL. This will lead to unnecessary delays and could result in your shortcode being suspended – please use the phone helpline service provided if you have any questions regarding the infringement notice.
Based on carrier approval of audit results, WMC Global then work directly with content providers and aggregators to enforce industry and carrier-specific standards. In addition, WMC Global team members assist carriers with industry consulting services and preapproval of programmes.
Vodafone Hutchison Australia (VHA) operates the Vodafone, '3' and Crazy John's brands in Australia. The result of a merger between Vodafone Australia and Hutchison 3G Australia, it created a mobile communications entity of nearly 7 million subscribers, A$4 billion in annual revenue and a 27 % market share making it Australia's third largest mobile telecommunications provider behind Telstra and Optus.
- Total wireless subscribers in Australia to reach 31 million in 2013
- We forecast that total mobile subscribers in Australia will increase from 23.6 million in 2008 to 31.1 million in 2013.
- All operators will see their number of subscribers increase over the next five years.
- Telstra will continue to be the largest operator in the country with 12.3 million subscribers in 2013.
- Optus will remain in second place while Vodafone will remain in third place over the forecast period.
Telstra leads Australia’s mobile operator space, but its subscriber market share will be declining over the next five years. Telstra will continue to lead Australia in subscriber market shares. However, our model predicts that Telstra will see its market share decrease from 41.1% in 2008 to 39.6% in 2013. On the other hand, we forecast that the smallest operator, Hutchison, will see its market share increase from 8.6% in 2008 to 9.9% in 2013, and Optus’s market share will go up slightly from 32.4% in 2008 to 32.7% in 2013. Vodafone's share of total subscribers will remain stable at approximately 17.8% over the next several years.
When applying for a dedicated code your draft promotions should be submitted to txtNation via the form provided below. The form and your draft promotions should be submitted in English. You should not put any promotions in a public place before they have been approved.
As part of the application process for a dedicated code you will need to complete 2 forms:
1) You will need to complete a txtNation Customer Care Form (CCF). Used to submit to the carriers for them to provision the short code and used ongoing to ensure that your service tests the same as the approval.
2) Under the Mobile Premium Services Code (C637:2009) all suppliers of Mobile Premium Services, prior to engaging in the provision of such services in Australia, are required to submit company details to the Mobile Premium Services Industry Register managed by Communications Alliance. To register use the New MPS Supplier form.
3) Once you have been provided with your code, as per Mobile Premium Services Code (C637:2009) (PAGE 24: 4.1.9) End Carriage Suppliers: An End Carriage Supplier must provide Communications Alliance with details of the measures it has available to limit a Customer's expenditure on Mobile Premium Services, for publication on the website located at www.19sms.com.au.
(PAGE 24 & 25: 4.2) A Content Supplier of Premium SMS or MMS Services must: (a) provide to their Aggregator; or (b) if the Content Supplier does not have an Aggregator, use the Short Code Look-up Data Entry Tool to provide to Communications Alliance: a list of: (c) all Short Codes the Content Supplier uses to provide Premium SMS or MMS Services; and (d) for each of those Short Codes: (i) the primary name under which the services on that Short Code are provided; (ii) the time period during which it will be provided, including start date and end date; (iii) the Content Supplier's name; (iv) the Content Supplier's Helpline; (v) a contact email address linked to the Content Supplier's Helpline; and (vi) a description of the services provided, and any other data entry fields listed in the Short Code Look-up Data Entry Tool.
Note that once your code is approved, following a grace period, it is in the Optus Terms and Conditions that they may suspend, downgrade or cancel the service if a code does not generate more than 20,000 MTs per month. This said, we have never seen this implemented for under-performing codes.
The Mobile Premium Services Code (C637:2009) has comprehensive descriptive guidelines for how you should promote services in Australia. For example, see Pages 13 - 20. Page 23 and 24.
You can find more concise guidelines via WMC Global's A Guide to Compliance on the Optus and Telstra Networks: Advertising. Highlights include:
- Display a disclaimer in the main body of the ad
- Display full and correct pricing in prescribed format: $XX.XX $0.25/msg sent
- Display pricing within three line breaks of call-to-action or MSISDN-submit field, directly above, below, or to either side, with no intervening text or graphics.
- Price at least 50% of the shortcode, or at least font size 12.
- No use of the word "free" or "complimentary".
Prior to, or on commencing supply of a Chat Service to a Customer, the Content Provider must warn the customer of the danger of disclosing personal details via the Chat Service and advise the customer not to do so.
If subscription service:
- the words "subscribe" or "subscription" must be in the main body of the advert
- price frequency must be displayed clearly, e.g. per week, per day, per month, /day, /week, /wk, per wk, /month, /mth, per mth, if chat /msg and per msg; are acceptable, anything else is not.
- No minimum subscription period & can opt-out at any time.
- Australian toll-free or local-charge phone number must be displayed e.g 1300 and 1800 numbers
- Display opt-out information as “Text [Send, SMS, or Reply] STOP to [shortcode].
- Disclose clearly that customers under age 18 must have account holder’s permission.
- Disclose that; "GPRS rates apply" or "carrier and data charges", "WAP/GPRS/UMTS charges apply".
- Chat services must include the Chat Warning:
Prior to, or on commencing supply of a Chat Service to a Customer, the CP must warn the Customer of the danger of disclosing personal details via the Chat Service and advise the Customer not to do so.
Update Tuesday 12th June 2012 onwards
The ACMA has registered a revised Mobile Premium Services (MPS) Code.
The revised Code will become effective on 1st June 2012. Until this date, the ACMA will consider compliance with either the existing Code or the revised Code to be acceptable, but from 1st June all services must comply with the revised Code only.
Please find the revised Code attached, along with an Explanatory Statement. Both documents can also be downloaded from http://www.commsalliance.com.au/Activities/mps.
The main changes from the previous MPS Code include:
• Additional requirements surrounding advertising, specifically around clarifying “sufficient proximity” and introduction of the subscription disclosure proximity requirements
• Clear distinction between Single Purchase Services and Subscription Services
• Streamlining of the Double Opt-In procedure
• New requirements stipulating that specific information (STOP facility, inclusion of the term “subscribe/subscription”, content suppliers helpline, service name) be included in subscription messages, in a specific order
• New protections relating to the supply of Reverse Charge Billing Services, which had previously been exempt from the Code
• Minor changes to Helpline requirements to clarify which time zone applies to suppliers for the purposes of Helpline obligations, and to clarify IVR/staffed Helpline requirements
Following the revision of the Mobile Premium Services (MPS) Code, the networks have completed a review and update of the advertising, message flow, and helpline audit standards. These audit standards take effect on 1st June 2012 and will be reflected in infringement notices published by WMC (the industry regulator) from Tuesday 12th June 2012 onwards.
The networks have just finalised these audit standards and are issuing them in advance to allow you time to identify changes required to your services and to ensure they are compliant with the regulations. The new audit standards for advertising, message flow and helplines, for each of VHA, Optus and Telstra, can be viewed and downloaded from WMC’s website in the Document Downloads box on the top right hand side at http://www.wmcglobal.com.au/faqs.html.
In line with the updated audit standards, WMC has issued new Guides to Compliance – please find copies of these attached. Changes to the previous audit standard are highlighted in yellow in all of the documents. However, please note that the WMC FAQ page (linked above) still hosts the current Guides to Compliance, which will be superseded by the attached documents on 1st June 2012.
The networks wish to highlight the following entries in the Message Flow Guide to Compliance, surrounding the new ordering of subscription request messages:
10 Double opt-in keyword displayed within insufficient proximity to pricing and subscription charge period 4.4.2
Display double opt-in keyword within sufficient proximity to pricing and charge period, with no intervening text. Examples of acceptable message ordering include “service name, pricing, charge period, double opt-in keyword, unsubscribe information, helpline”; “service name, double opt-in keyword, pricing, charge period, unsubscribe information, helpline”; and “pricing, charge period, double opt-in keyword, service name, helpline, unsubscribe information.”
29 Unsubscribe information positioned incorrectly 4.4.2
Display unsubscribe information after service name, pricing, charge period, and double opt-in keyword. Content providers must display the unsubscribe information at the end of the subscription request message. Examples of acceptable message ordering include "service name, pricing, charge period, double opt-in keyword, unsubscribe information, helpline"; "service name, double opt-in keyword pricing, charge period, unsubscribe information, helpline"; and "pricing, charge period, double opt-in keyword, service name, helpline, unsubscribe information."
30 Helpline number positioned incorrectly 4.4.2
Display local-charge or free-call Helpline number after service name, pricing, charge period, and double opt-in keyword. Content providers must display the local-charge or free-call Helpline number at the end of the subscription request message. Examples of acceptable message ordering include "service name, pricing, charge period, double opt-in keyword, unsubscribe information, helpline"; "service name, double opt-in keyword pricing, charge period, unsubscribe information, helpline"; and "pricing, charge period, double opt-in keyword, service name, helpline, unsubscribe information."
- PAGE 31: There must be an MO from the user before the subscription can commence, e.g. no PIN opt-in. There must be a free confirmation of subscription message. There must be a $30 / monthly reminder message.
- PAGE 39. Except in the case of an MT Message sent as part of a Chat Service, if it is a billed message, "$Msg" must start the MT Message.
WMC Global offer a more specific document, "A Guide to Compliance on the Optus and Telstra Networks: Message Flow". Highlights summarized from throughout the document include:
- Double Opt-in: The user must send an MO message to the short code before they are sent a billed MT. To perform a DO or WO-RAR, e.g. they text in a keyword or enter their phone number onto a web based form and receive an MT asking them to reply, the following format should be used:
FreeMsg: This is a subscription service from [name]. Text [keyword] to [shortcode] now to enter, cost: $[cost in $X.XX format] /[time period, e.g. day, wk, mth]. Support: [Toll free or local rate customer support number]. To STOP send STOP to [shortcode]
- Welcome: Upon joining, a standard rate message should be sent advising the user they have joined, in the format of:
Free MSG: You are now subscribed to [name], cost: $[cost in $X.XX format] /[time period, e.g. day, wk, mth]. support: [Toll free or local rate customer support number], To STOP send STOP to [shortcode].
FreeMsg: [name] [description of service]. Cost: $[cost in $X.XX format] /[time period, e.g. day, wk, mth]. Support: [Toll free or local rate customer support number]. To STOP send STOP to [shortcode]
- Stop: Any message containing STOP, treat as a stop request, and return a message in the format of:
FreeMSG: You are now unsubscribed from [name]. No further charges apply. Helpline: [Toll free or local rate customer support number]
- Chat service welcome message: If operating a chat service further information is available here.
Upon commencing supply of a Chat Service CP must send the Customer a standard, dedicated SMS message (with no Premium Fees charged to the Customer for the message) to the Customer's mobile phone:
(a) commencing with the phrase "FreeMsg"; and
(i) the Service Name;
(ii) any sign-up cost;
(iii) the basis for calculating charges, including any:
(a) charge per MO Message;
(b) charge per MT Message; or
(c) charge per Charge Period, and that Charge Period; and
(iv) details of the Helpline.
- If offering an introductory period with no charge see pages 14 - 15.
- If sending marketing / advertising messages, see pages 16 - 17.
5.2.2 (c) Reasons other than lack of credit
i. You can attempt one retry, each day, per 7 days.
ii. No more than two attempts in 7 days, for a maximum of 30 days from the failure, then you must stop attempting retries.
5.2.2 (d) Reasons concerning lack of credit
For one-time service:
i. Two retry attempts are allowed within 7 days, then stop.
(A) For subscription, if they can’t view the content:
ii. (aa) Two retry attempts within each 7 days up until the charge period (i.e. weekly subscription)
(B) For subscription, if they can view the content:
(aa) Two retry attempts within each 7 days up until the end of the charge period
(bb) Two retry attempts within 7 days in the following charge period, then you must stop.
1. You are only allowed to send a subscription request message when:
a- Once when the user submits their mobile number on your landing page,
b- If user did not respond to the Request – you can send it for the second and only time within an hour of the initial Request.
2. $30 Spend Reminder message: please ensure that you are sending the spend reminders every time the user spends $30 on the particular short code they have been subscribed to.
We operate both Mobile Originated (MO) and Mobile Terminated (MT) billing on dedicated lines in Australia. See forum entry "What are the SMS billing types available?" for more information on these billing types.
As per PAGE 1 of A Guide to Compliance on the Optus and Telstra Networks: Message Flow, Telstra insists that a nominal charge is imposed for all MO messages so they appear on customer’s bill, e.g. $0.25.
Shortcodes are either 6-digits or 8-digits. Your account manager can inform you of the price increase to obtain a 6-digit code.
- The Code of Conduct pays special attention to Chat services and the above guidance references to Chat services which should be examined in detail.
- Adult services are allowed but only in the form of Bikini.
Optus further clarify the following adult related services to be unacceptable:
• Nudity, whether justified by context or not.
• Images of models who appear to be underage.
• Implied acts of sexual simulation or suggestive positions of any nature.
• Chat services that include any sexual references, either implicitly or by context.
• Advertisements for non-Adult Services that are advertised next to or with Adult Content, or which mislead customers into believing that the service is an Adult Content service when it is not.
The current rate of tax in Australia is available via Wikipedia. The end user tariffs are shown inclusive of GST which is the Australian sales tax, "Goods and Service Tax". The outpayments on our rate cards are exclusive of VAT, so if you are VAT registered you can claim a higher outpayment than is shown.
Dedicated codes are available with a 5 - 7 week lead time depending on carrier availability, the carriers approve based on their backlog, the time of year, price point and service type. You can read more about Short Code Coverage, SMS Billing Services and Mobile Payments in Australia via the txtNation Gateway.
Australia has the following Mobile Payment options available, all of which fall under these regulations.
- Premium SMS (P-SMS) including Short Code services
Additional options for Mobile Payment and Messaging in Australia include:
- HLR Lookup
- Bulk SMS