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Press Release: WASPA's New Advertising Rules Show Industry Compliance

22 February 2006:

The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (WASPA) has followed their recent successful introduction of the WASPA Code of Conduct in September last year, with the introduction of the WASPA Advertising Rules. All WASPS and their clients have been compelled to comply with these Advertising Rules since 1 January 2006. The rules are media specific and illustrate clearly how a service to a mobile consumer needs to be advertised. For example, on television if a premium rate SMS service is advertised then the price paid to purchase content or enter a competition must be shown on screen for a minimum time period and be of a minimum size.

The media covered in the Rules include TV, cinema, radio, newspaper, magazines, content booklets, outdoor, below-the-line promotions, web sites, email ads and SMS/MMS ads. TV viewers will already notice clear pricing being displayed in adverts flighted by WASPs.

Any WASP or WASP client contravening these rules will fall foul of the WASPA Code of Conduct and will be subjected to the complaints procedure administered by the independent Adjudicator potentially resulting in a fine.

This further proactive initiative from the WASP association will provide comfort to consumers of mobile services particularly since this market is developing at a rapid pace.


WASPA represents the mobile development; value added services and content services community in South Africa. After lobbying the mobile operators and WASPs in late 2003 for an industry body, WASPA's formative meeting was held in August 2004. Membership of WASPA was made mandatory by the mobile operators and TV stations for any company doing value added services in South Africa.

WASPA's remit is to promote and self-regulate the WASP industry. As part of the self-regulatory component of WASPA, there is the now internationally recognized and emulated self-regulatory regime for mobile value added services that includes the WASPA Code of Conduct & Advertising Rules. WASPA's Code of Conduct regulates inter alia, competitions, chat, adult services, spam, CRM, advertising of services,subscription services and pricing. The first version of the Code was passed in June 2004 and implemented on 1 September 2005. It has been updated numerous times as the need has arisen.

Enforcement of the Code & Advertising Rules is achieved by a novel quasi-judicial system that consists of a procedure for lodging and responding to complaints where it is thought the Code is being contravened. Adherence to the Code and the Advertising rules is mandatory for all providers operating in South Africa.

ICT lawyers acting as WASPA adjudicators will find on the merits and have the power to suspend, fine, expel any WASP or Information Provider found to contravene the Code rules. Adjudications are enforced through contractual provisions in all WASP agreements. There is also a 3-person appeals panel as well as an emergency panel.