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WASPA beefs up Code of Conduct

Released: 11 May 2009

The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association (WASPA) of South Africa recently ratified Version 7 of its Code of Conduct for members offering even more protection to consumers of mobile content and application services.

The latest version of the Code ensures that WASPA members are clear about the rules that they must follow in their advertisements across all media.

It also puts stricter rules into place around reminder notifications for subscribers; clarifies and expands a number of important definitions; and reduces the amount of time that a WASP has to respond to an unsubscribe request. "The primary objective of the WASPA Code of Conduct is to ensure that members of the public can use mobile services with confidence, knowing that they will be provided with accurate information about the nature, content and pricing of all mobile content and applications services they use. The Code also provides consumers with a way to air and address any concerns or complaints they have about WASPA members and their conduct," said Leon Perlman, chairman of WASPA.

"The Code of Conduct sets standards for advertising mobile application services, and includes a framework for the provision of PG Rated services, to ensure adequate protection of children from potentially harmful content. We have put these rules in place because we believe that an ethical WASP industry is in the interests of our members and their customers."

Members of the public can view the WASPA Code of conduct at: http://www.waspa.org.za/code/codeconduct.shtml. The procedure to follow if one has a complaint about a WASP's conduct - sending out spam for example - is as follows:

  1. Go to http://www.waspa.org.za/code/complaint.shtml
  2. Fill in the complaint form with as much detail as you are able to provide. If you are unable to determine the name of the WASP involved, provide WASPA with any information that might assist in identifying a WASP (examples: the name of the service, a transcript of the offending SMS, the short-code associated with the service, or the originating number of the message you have received).
  3. Submit your complaint. A copy will be sent to you for reference if you supplied an email address, and WASPA will pass on your complaint to the relevant WASP for a response. If the matter cannot be resolved with the service provider, an independent adjudicator, a lawyer, will make a finding.



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