Exetel to block premium SMS by default

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Exetel to block premium SMS by default

Removes 90 percent of billing disputes.

Mid-tier telco Exetel has announced it will block customers from using premium SMS services by default, a month before the industry deadline to introduce provisions that enable customers to stop the service.

All Exetel customers will be auotmatically barred from premium SMS on July 1, a deadline for the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) determination that mobile providers implement an ability to turn off some SMS (short message service) or MMS (multimedia message service) functions.

Exetel CEO John Linton said he isn't interested in the lucrative revenue stream provided by premium SMS services.

"We have no wish to add to our revenues by ripping off our customers," Linton told iTnews. "By barring premium services, we expect to remove 90 percent of billing disputes."

Exetel customers can choose to go out of their way to manually enable the ability to buy premium SMS products via a web interface, but Linton estimated that less than two percent of customers would genuinely sign up for the service.

Telstra has not said whether it would take a similar strategy, but has claimed to be the first telco to allow customers to bar premium services, and offers a double opt-in arrangement for all SMS subscription services.

The telco claims it also terminates premium SMS providers with continued high and unacceptable complaint levels associated with their services.

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