The new Order ITC/308/2008 sets out a list of measures designed to improve transparency and the conditions applicable to the provision of Premium SMS services. It also establishes that Premium services providers holding those numbers will not be able to sub-assign to other companies the numbers assigned to them for these type of services.
Amongst the main measures we point out the new numbering assigned to each type of service, which call prices can reach the amount of 6 Euros in some cases. The new numbers will start with number 2 (services with prices equal or below to 1,2 Euros), number 3 (services with prices equal or below to 6 Euros), number 79 (subscription services) and number 99 (adult services), and their length will be 5 numbers (for those which start with 2 or 3) and 6 numbers (for those which start with 79 and 99). Operators which are now providing Premium SMS services will have to apply to the CMT for the new numbering according to the service provided. In this regard, many operators have already submitted their applications for the allocation of the new numbers conducted by the CMT. The CMT is expected to issue a final resolution during August regarding the initial allocation of these numbers.
Furthermore, operators will have to adapt their activities to the new rights recognized to the users in the Order. For instance the right of disconnection, mechanism which allows a user to block his telephone from sending messages with a cost higher than an ordinary SMS or with certain adult content; informative messages to the user about pricing, type of service and providerâ€™s name; prohibition of chain messages (user sending two or more Premium SMS to apply for a service); establishment of subscription and un-subscription harmonized procedures in order to prevent involuntary subscriptions and make un-subscriptions easier for the users. In addition, operators will have to provide to their subscribers invoices with the necessary breakdown to reflect which part belongs to SMS Premium.
The deadline to comply with the Order was nine months from the date when it came into effect, that was, 14 February 2008. This term includes a maximum period of two months in which operators can use old and new numbering in parallel in order to make the appropriate technical adjustments to the networks.
Finally, it should be noted that the Order foresees the adoption of a Code of Conduct for Premium SMS services, which will be based on the principles of the protection of children and youth, as well as on consumer rights protection. The Supervision Committee for Premium Rate Services expects to finalize such Code during October this year.
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