Mobile content regulator lays down new rules

As a result of a year-on-year increase of more than 100 per cent in the number of mobile-related complaints, the UK's premium content regulator PhonepayPlus has issued tough new rules.

The most significant of these is that anyone signing up to a subscription service which charges more than £4.50 (US$6.25) in any given week (including joining costs) must first receive, and reply to, a free confirmation message outlining the cost and conditions of the service. In addition, any content provider who wants to offer mobile subscription services for more than £4.50 a week or wanting to apply pay-per-page charges must first apply for permission from PhonepayPlus. Content providers must also clearly display prices in any advertising for a service and they cannot label a service "free" unless there truly are no costs involved.

PhonepayPlus also has ruled companies cannot sell or trade third party marketing lists unless those on the list have agreed to receive promotional messages. All subscription and promotional messaging services must respond to the "stop" command. Premium mobile services are used by hundreds of thousands of customers daily and the majority of these services operate without problems. However, apparently some companies have adopted practices which have created increased complaints from customers.

The Mobile Entertainment Forum, the industry body for content providers, said whilst it was still studying the proposals it was not convinced the new regulations achieved anything that wasn't possible under the previous Code of Practice.

For more on this story:
- go to Moconews and Mobile Europe

Related stories:
British regulators launch mobile content inquiry
Regulatory review of mobile content premium rate services
The year ahead: Mobile content predictions sure to go wrong

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