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Mobile Consumers Invited to Shape WASPA Code of Conduct

Released: 20 July 2010

The Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA (WASPA) has invited public comment on proposed amendments to its Code of Conduct aimed at protecting consumers of mobile content and services.

Since its inception five years ago, the Code of Conduct has been fine-tuned several times to enable WASPA to more effectively carry out its mandate of industry self-regulation. However, this is the first time that a call for public comment has been made.

"The various watchdogs and monitors that have made their appearance in South Africa since the transition to democracy is proof of the value society places on transparency. WASPA wants to help foster that spirit of accountability by ensuring future versions of the Code of Conduct are shaped by the very consumers it is designed to protect," said Mike Hainebach, Chairman of the WASPA Code of Conduct Committee.

A dedicated page for inputting comment can be found at http://www.waspa.org.za/public-comment. Mr Hainebach noted that the Association already places all previous versions of the Code of Conduct since 2005 on the WASPA website, while records of adjudications, penalties issued against errant members, and information pertaining to the mission and mandate of WASPA is also publicly available. "There are few examples of a more transparent, and effective self-regulating industry body in this country," commented Mr Hainebach.

He added that WASPA will be applying to the Department of Trade & Industry for its Code of Conduct to be recognised under the Consumer Protection Act coming into effect in October this year.

The primary objective of the WASPA Code of Conduct is to ensure that members of the public can use mobile services with confidence. The Code of Conduct sets standards for advertising mobile application services and includes a framework for the provision of services by members. Sanctions for violating the Code may include warnings, fines, suspension or the revocation of membership.

The current version of the WASPA Code of Conduct can be viewed at http://www.waspa.org.za/code/codeconduct.shtml.

Should you believe a WASPA member has broken these rules, you can lodge a complaint by going to http://www.waspa.org.za/code/complaint.shtml.



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