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Press Release: More Mobile Consumer Protection from WASPA

20 November 2008

The latest initiative by the Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (WASPA) aimed at protecting mobile consumers kicked in over the weekend.

From 15 November 2008 all South African WASPs providing mobile content and subscription services via any mobile access technology will have to send subscribers a notification when their bill reaches a threshold of R300. The subscriber has to explicitly provide consent before incurring any further bills for that particular service.

"This latest consumer protection step will prevent subscribers from ringing up huge bills because they will always be aware that they have reached a certain key threshold," said Leon Perlman, chairman of WASPA.

WASPA has introduced a raft of consumer protection measures recently with a new set of advertising rules also coming into effect on 15 November. The R300 threshold rule adds to other new WASPA Code of Conduct measures that will ensure the industry organisation is better able to enforce ethical behaviour by its members and protect the interests of consumers.

The WASPA Code of Conduct, which all of South Africa's WASPs must subscribe to, outlines in detail how the organisation's members should conduct themselves in their interactions with the public.



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.

Issued by:

Ivan Booth
Reliable Sources PR
082 851 7419
ivan (at) reliablesources.co.za