PennyTel engaged in stoush with Optus

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PennyTel engaged in stoush with Optus

Threatens legal action over unauthorised direct SMS to its customers.

Mobile VoIP provider PennyTel has threatened legal action against former wholesale partner Optus after the carrier informed PennyTel customers directly that their mobile services would "cease" in a fortnight.

PennyTel has for several years sold SIM cards that run on the Optus mobile network. PennySIM users could route calls from their mobiles through a VoIP gateway to get cheap call rates.

PennyTel revamped its SIM plans a fortnight ago, announcing they would run on Vodafone's mobile network, rather than Optus'.

The company allegedly told a user on 20 April that it had one year to run on its wholesale agreement with Optus, meaning existing PennySIM customers had up to 12 months' grace before they had to switch to the new Vodafone-based plans.

But that grace period appeared dashed last week when existing PennySIM customers received text messages directly from Optus advising them that their mobile connections would "cease" on 16 May.

An Optus spokesman told iTnews that it had "informed PennyTel it [would] cease [their] business relationship".

"It is a commercial decision," the Optus spokesman said, without elaborating.

The spokesman did not comment on why Optus had directly contacted mobile customers with whom it did not hold a retail relationship.

The move appeared to catch PennyTel off-guard, with a representative telling the Whirlpool forums that it had not been made aware of Optus' intention to reach out directly to PennySIM users.

The representative indicated PennyTel was exploring the legality of Optus' conduct.

By late Friday night, the company had upped its threats.

"The SMS from Optus was sent without the knowledge or authorisation of PennyTel, and was a breach of the Privacy Act and the Spam Act," another representative of the company charged.

"We have since taken necessary legal procedures to settle this dispute.

"We apologise for all the inconveniences caused and thank you for your patience."

PennyTel did not return an emailed request for comment. Calls to the company's listed phone number went unanswered.

Do you know more? Email rcrozier (at) itnews (dot) com (dot) au

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