2007

BT response to ICSTIS' consultation on Regulation of Anonymous SMS Messaging Services

Issued September 7, 2007

Introduction

The nature of Anonymous SMS services is quite different to the traditional premium rate model as recipients of these messages have not paid for them, nor have they solicited them. However, this does not mean that the recipient of the SMS should not be afforded the same protection as a user of a premium rate service (PRS) especially given that the payment mechanism is via a PRS SMS. We see no reason why there should be any less protection for mobile customers against anonymous communication than there is for fixed line customers.

BT is supportive of proactive regulatory action where it is believed there is potential for serious consumer harm as is the case with Anonymous SMS services. Whilst there may be little evidence of consumer harm there appear to be inherent risks caused by this type of service. It is vital that where the possibility of harm is identified that swift and appropriate action is taken to minimise any negative press coverage, as this could result in a further decline in consumer confidence in PRS. BT does not offer these types of services and as a result is not directly impacted by the proposed regulatory remedies.

BT is supportive of ICSTIS’ proposals and believes that they are proportionate for the moment. ICSTIS should continue to closely monitor these services so that further regulatory remedies can be implemented if and when necessary.

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BT would welcome comments on the contents of this document. Please address any queries on this response to nicola.robbins@bt.com.