Mobile carriers to trial short SMS numbers

Mr Graham Chalker, CEO of Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association (AMTA) said, “The industry supports the Australian Communications Authority’s initiative to review current numbering policy and to consider new short number ranges for SMS services. In order to assist this review, the mobile carriers are committed to a six month trial which will test the market for demand of commercial SMS services, evaluate the effectiveness of short numbers and the technical arrangements needed to support them. The trial is a great example of the entire industry working cooperatively to improve mobile services for Australians.”

“With the explosive growth of SMS, over 290 million are sent each month in Australia, the need for a better way of supporting commercial services is required,” he said.

“Overseas experience, particularly in Europe, has shown that benefits of using shorter numbers for both the industry and the consumer. Shorter SMS numbers are easier to remember, easier to advertise effectively and easier for consumers to enter into their phone.” Mr Chalker said the industry has also committed to a code of conduct which will ensure clear pricing for all commercial SMS services.

“An easily recognisable prefix, such as 188, alerts consumers that there may be varying charges involved for using a particular SMS service. We will ensure that these costs are clearly outlined to consumers.”

The ACA is expected to make decisions about a permanent commercial SMS short number range by the middle of the year. Thus the use of the 188 short codes will be discontinued at trial end and replaced by the new ACA deemed number range.

Details about the trial

Trial services are set to begin in May 2003 and will run for approximately six months.

There will be approximately 600 short 188 numbers available. The trial is open to any service provider or content aggregator who can put together a commercial service, such as a competition that they want to run using a 188 short number.

These providers should approach their carriers who will process their application including agreeing commercial terms and tariffing.

For more information media can contact:

AMTA

Graham Chalker
CEO
Tel: (02) 6239 6555

Optus

Simone Bergholcs
Optus Corporate Affairs
Tel: (02) 9342 7846

Orange

Karen Mazor
Stakeholder Relations
Tel: (02) 9964 4885

Telstra

To be advised

Vodafone

Rosie Gray-Spencer, Head of PR &
Corporate Communications,
Vodafone Australia
Tel: (02) 9425 8788 or
0414 208 788