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Nokia to Audit Australian SMS Marketing

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Finnish mobile giant, Nokia Corporation, is to audit its SMS marketing in Australia following an investigation by the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA).

The ACMA is Australia’s regulator for broadcasting, the internet, radiocommunications and telecommunications. The ACMA’s strategic intent is to make communications and media work in Australia’s public interest.

The ACMA commenced the investigation into Nokia after it received complaints from customers who could not work out how to unsubscribe from the companies ‘tips’ by SMS message. The messages did not contain contact information from Nokia, contrary to Australia’s Spam Act 2003.

The investigation also found that while some of the ‘tips’ contained factual information, others contained material that promoted Nokia’s products and services, and should, as a result, have contained an ‘unsubscribe’ option for users.

ACMA Acting Chairman, Richard Bean, said:

“SMS allows businesses to reach their customers no matter where they are or what they are doing.”

“But with that opportunity come responsibilities under the Spam Act, including the obligation to include an unsubscribe facility in marketing messages.”

In response to the ACMA findings, Nokia has accepted an enforceable undertaking. The company has agreed to:

  • appoint an independent consultant to audit its systems and processes
  • develop a plan to carry out the independent consultant’s recommendations
  • train its employees engaged in SMS marketing about complying with the requirements of the Spam Act
  • make a payment of $55,000.

The ACMA has reported that there was a 370% growth in complaints relating to SMS text messages in 2010-11, which the public believes to be spam, though Nokia is one of the biggest profile companies to have been found to have fallen foul of the terms of the Spam Act 2003 to date.

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