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Consumer access to free checks on mobile phone blocking program

The Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) on behalf of Telstra, Optus and Vodafone provides consumers with a free service to check if a handset has been reported lost or stolen and blocked across all networks. AMTA s Lost and Stolen program is free to consumers but not businesses. It protects consumers from facing big bills run-up by thieves and sends a strong signal to thieves that stolen handsets will be blocked across all networks, making them inoperable in Australia. This is done by blocking a handset s unique 15-digit serial number, the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI). IMEI blocking is reversible and your mobile can be unblocked if you find it or it is returned. For tips on lost and stolen mobiles and security advice: www.lost.amta.org.

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Mobile blocking sends a strong message to thieves

The mobile telecommunications industry's Lost and Stolen program has sent a strong message to thieves over the past 12 years with a 30 per cent fall in the number of blocks of handsets reported lost or stolen. The program has proved to be a strong deterrence to theft of mobiles. In its first full year of the program s operation in 2003-04 there were 170,000 net blocks. For the corresponding period last year there were 119,898 blocks a 29.5 per cent fall. This is against the background of the number of mobile services in operation rising sharply from 16 million in 2003-04 to more than 31 million over 12 years. The mobile device security program, which works by blocking the devices unique 15-digit serial number, is provided free to consumers. Handsets are blocked across all networks in Australia and a mobile phone cannot be used to make or receive calls or send or receive text messages on any networks.

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Consumers reaping benefits of increased data allowances and lower prices

Consumers of telecommunications services are reaping the benefits of competition via increased data allowances, new services and lower prices, says the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). In its annual report for 2014-15, it says that consumer demand for data on mobile networks grew by 35 per cent to 110,000 TB. The increased demand for data is largely due to the popularity of audio-visual streaming services, including the introduction of subscription video on demand services such as Netflix, Presto and Stan, says ACCC Chairman Rod Sims. Service providers have responded by increasing data allowances. During 2014-15, data allowances for post-paid mobile services more than doubled. At the same time, overall prices fell by 0.5 per cent in real terms in 2014-15.

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What the experts say about Catalyst’s top 10 mobile health claims

ABC TV s Catalyst aired a number allegations in February about health and safety issues related to mobile telecommunications and Wi-Fi. The program was widely criticised for being unbalanced and failing to present the scientific consensus of expert national and international health agencies on mobile phone safety. AMTA in its latest EME Update has presented the views of the World Health Organization (WHO), the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA) and other official agencies, which all continue to find that no adverse health effects have been established as being caused from mobile phone use. AMTA supports the right of people to have their own views on health and safety issues. However, it is important that they have the facts from the weight of science on these issues, allowing them to make informed choices about their use of the technology. EME Update looks at Catalyst s top 10 claims and provides what the independent scientific experts have to say.

AMTA’s response to ABC TV Catalyst’s claims on 16 February 2016

The mobile telecommunications industry takes seriously all issues related to health and safety of mobile products and relies on expert advice from national and international health agencies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO). To operate in Australia the mobile telecommunications industry is required to comply with Federal Government safety standards, which are recognised by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA). The safety standards have large safety margins and are designed to protect adults and children. ABC TV s Catalyst program last night canvassed the views of some scientists, who expressed their personal concerns about the health of safety of mobile telecommunications. AMTA supports their right to have their own views. However, the views of these scientists do not accord with those of independent expert health bodies, such as the World Health Organization (WHO).

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Expert reaction to ABC TV’s Catalyst program on mobile telecommunications health and safety issues

The Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency (ARPANSA), the Australian Government s radiation protection body, has restated its official view that there is no established scientific evidence that use of mobile phones and Wi-Fi devices cause any health effects following ABC TV s Catalyst program this week called Wi-Fried . Independent scientific experts have labelled the Catalyst program on 16 February as scaremongering and pseudoscience after it alleged that there was a growing fear that use of mobile telecommunications devices was linked to brain cancer. The program featured Dr Devra Davis, a United States scientist in the fields of environmental health and disease prevention. She was part of a team that won the Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore in 2007 for their work on climate change.