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Welcome to the latest current affairs that impact communications consumers. 

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Have you received a text message like the one below informing you that you’ve subscribed to a subscription service and will be charged a fee for that service?

Image text: Freemsg: >Reply YES now< to get your content from SMSQuest. ($6.60 join + $6.60/msg, 3msg/wk 25c/msg sent). Help? 1800364332. sms stop to 19700800.

These types of messages don’t come from your telco and may result in charges being added to your phone bill. These charges are for third party services which means your telco is allowing another provider to sell content to you which you pay for on your phone bill. What you are buying can be phone apps, pay per view videos, games and other content. They can be one-off charges or ongoing subscriptions.

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Connected devicesHave you noticed how more and more everyday items are now connected to the internet?

While we used to have ordinary watches that told us the time and the date, we now have smartwatches that track our fitness, alert us about emails and more.

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Connected devices surround a light-bulb shape formed by hundreds of illuminated connections with the silhouette of a man and woman at it's center

 

Your place in the connected world
ACCANect 2017
20-21 September, Sydney

Digital technology has transformed consumer experiences around the world. Everything will be connected: devices, houses, transport, food production, health and government services. The “always connected” world raises big questions.

Join us at ACCANect 2017 and help shape the future for connected consumers.

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Farming using tabletIn April, some members of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition had their say on issues relating to the NBN rollout at public hearings in front of the Joint Parliamentary Standing Committee on the National Broadband Network.

This blog summarises the issues highlighted by AgForce Queensland, Better Internet for Rural, Regional & Remote Australia (BIRRR) and ACCAN at these hearings. Transcripts for the hearings and submissions to the Committee are available online.

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Woman sitting at desk talking on mobile phoneRecently ACCAN has heard increasing reports about fraudulent mobile number porting and identity theft.

What is a mobile number porting scam?

Fraudulent mobile number porting happens when a scammer uses your personal details to port your mobile number from one provider to another. Scammers can get access to your personal details, such as your date of birth, phone number and address, via your social media profiles.

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Communications towers in outback settingLast year Queensland Remote Aboriginal Media (QRAM), in conjunction with ACCAN, released what is believed to be the first consumer resources produced in Indigenous languages.

Working with design agency, Gilimbaa, QRAM created a series of audio tracks with information on what you should think about before buying a mobile phone, how to keep internet and phone costs low, what people can do if they get a large or unexpected bill and more. The project also produced a series of colourful posters that cover the same issues.

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Cotton picking machineThe cotton industry is an integral part of the Australian economy, worth more than $1.5 billion in export earnings for the 2015-16 season and employing on average 10,000 people.

Cotton Australia, the peak industry body for Australia’s cotton industry, is one of ACCAN’s newest members. The organisation is also a member of the Regional, Rural and Remote Communications Coalition.

As a member of both ACCAN and the Coalition, Cotton Australia has highlighted telecommunications issues many cotton growers experience, including poor to no mobile service, unreliable internet services with speeds and data caps that often mean growers struggle to send an email, let alone capitalise on all the benefits of ‘smart’ agriculture.

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Senior man using mobile phoneThe Australian mobile network providers have all announced the switch off of their 2G networks:

  • Optus’ 2G network will switch off from 3 April, 2017
  • Vodafone’s 2G network will switch off on 30 September, 2017
  • Telstra’s 2G network was switched off on 1 December, 2016

This article has information for consumers using 2G services on the Optus and Vodafone networks.

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Family using tablets and laptopMarch 15 is World Consumer Rights Day (WCRD). WCRD is an opportunity to promote the basic rights of all consumers, demanding that those rights are respected and protected, and a chance to protest against the market abuses and social injustices which undermine those rights.

The theme for WCRD 2017 is ‘Building a Digital World Consumers can Trust.’ To tie into this theme, this blog looks at where consumers can turn to when they need to make a complaint, get advice or report scams and cyberbullying.

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