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02 December, 2013
11:50 AM

Consumer Protection

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Mobile forum attracts diverse debate

By Editor

View of forum

Around 90 people representing industry, consumers, academia and regulators attended the ACMA’s Mobile Network Performance Forum in Melbourne earlier this month. The forum was also webcast with Australians watching and participating through Twitter, SMS and Whirlpool.

ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman opened proceedings by explaining where the forum fits within the organisation’s Reconnecting the Customer program.

‘We have seen a great improvement in the transparency and clarity of information in the areas of advertising and product disclosures, we have seen the consequential benefits to all sector participants and now we want to move the conversation along concerning mobile network performance,’ Mr Chapman said.

A range of speakers and panel members put forward diverse views on consumer needs for information about mobile network performance and how the Australian marketplace is faring. Questions were raised by the audience and nationally via the webcast.

Some of the issues discussed at the forum were:

  • The prevalence of complaints about voice services in Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman complaints data, and recent encouraging improvements in the overall complaint trends
  • How Australia’s mobile telephony market compares internationally in respect to competitiveness and network quality
  • Consumer behaviour in choosing a mobile service and dealing with problems as they happen
  • The feasibility of improvements to coverage maps and the pros and cons of standardising definitions and content
  • The rise of crowd sourcing apps as a tool for understanding mobile network issues and approaches to apps (particularly in the United States)
  • Other sources of information including the importance of point of sale conversations for the consumer
  • Recent material improvements in the industry’s engagement with its customers, attributed in part to the industry’s new Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code.

The ACMA and senior industry representatives are reviewing the various views put forward at the forum to consider industry’s next steps. Meanwhile, the ACMA will continue to act consistently with its disposition of: “Communicating - Facilitating - Regulating”.

Forum presentations and other materials about the forum are available here.

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