AMTA's Top Tips for a safe and happy holiday season

It’s that time of year again – here are our top consumer tips for Christmas and the summer holidays:

What’s on your Xmas shopping list?

  • You may want to read this before you go shopping for a smartphone for your child.
  • Check out the e-Safety Christmas gift guide for tips on all the latest hi-tech presents for kids this year.
  • Before you buy a second-hand phone, check that it has not already been blocked for being reported lost or stolen, by entering the mobile’s IMEI number here.
  • It pays to check that any wireless device is legal to use in Australia before you purchase it, especially if you are buying it online from an overseas website.

Hitting the road to visit family or friends?

  • Never text while driving – it’s both dangerous and illegal.
  • Always keep your eyes on the road and avoid distractions – keepyoureyesontheroad has tips about how you can drive safely and reduce risks while using a mobile.

Always check your mobile coverage!

  • Mobile coverage and good reception are very important to mobile device users whether on holidays, at home or at work. Before you sign up to a new plan or buy a new device, it’s important to check the coverage in the places you will use your phone the most.
  • Before you go on holidays, check the mobile coverage for your holiday destination with your service provider by visiting your service provider’s website or calling them to see what kind of coverage you can expect at your holiday destination.
  • Be aware that there are some ways to safely and legally enhance your mobile coverage. However, there are also strict rules around the use of mobile repeater devices.

Going overseas?

  • If you are lucky enough to be travelling overseas for a holiday, make sure you contact your service provider before you go. It always pays to make sure you are fully informed about the potential costs of international roaming before you go. So visit your service provider’s website and choose a roaming deal that will suit your needs when you make your travel plans and remember to read our tips about international roaming here.

Watch out for scams!

  • At this time of year scams are all too common. Watch out for fake parcel delivery scams and for fake websites selling mobiles and other popular Christmas gifts.  Remember, if the deal seems too good to be true, it’s probably a scam. Read more about these common holiday season scams on the ACCC’s website.
  • Before you go shopping make sure you know how to spot a fake phone so that you don’t waste your money on a sub-standard counterfeit device.

Lost your phone?

  • Remember to treat your smartphone similarly to your wallet – be careful where you leave it and enable PIN protection so that if it is lost or stolen the data stored on it will be safe.
  • If your mobile phone is lost or stolen call your service provider immediately so that you can prevent unauthorised use. AMTA runs a world-leading program that protects consumers by blocking mobile handsets across all networks if they are reported lost or stolen. To have your handset blocked across all networks you need to report the loss or theft to your carrier. See our lost and stolen tips for further details.

Avoid bill shock - understand your plan and its allowances

  • Make sure you understand your plan and its included data allowance.
  • Pay attention to usage alerts from your service provider. If you need more to use more data, contact your service provider to either upgrade your plan or purchase more data.
  • It can really pay to talk to your provider to make sure that you are on the best plan to meet your needs.

Where to get help when things don’t go to plan

Christmas day is one of the busiest days of the year for mobile service providers in terms of responding to customer service calls as well as monitoring and managing networks to ensure everyone’s text messages, email, social media posts and phone calls to family and friends are delivered.

Remember, if you have a problem, there are now several ways to contact your service provider – online and via social media as well as by calling. Sometimes it pays to check your service provider’s online customer support page or social media website first for questions you may have about a new mobile device or service.

If you are unable to resolve a complaint with your service provider you can contact the Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman (TIO) but please note that the TIO’s office and call centre will be closed from 22 Dec and will re-open on 2 Jan 2019.



Final NTP results cannot confirm mobile phone cause cancer in humans

The long awaited final results of the decade-spanning US National Toxicology Program on radiofrequency energy exposure has found no consistent effects in male and female mice and rats exposed to mobile phone signals for their whole life (2 years). However, in a sub-section of the study, researchers found that at the highest doses for the longest periods of time, cellphone radiation might cause a rare cancer in male rats. “High exposure to radiofrequency radiation (RFR) in rodents resulted in tumours in tissues surrounding nerves in the hearts of male rats, but not female rats or any mice, according to draft studies from the National Toxicology Program (NTP),” said a press release from the National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences where the program is headquartered.


Interference to mobile networks - Buyer Beware!

Interference to the mobile network can cause calls to drop out, data speeds to drop and impact on network performance. In the worst case, it can prevent someone else from making a call to Triple Zero in an emergency. The ACMA has now made available a consumer factsheet on interference that explains some of the common causes of interference and what you should do if you are contacted by a mobile network operator about interference to their network.