ACMA wants all your mobile phone spam


The Australian Communications and Media Authority launched what it dubbed “Spam SMS” — a spam reporting service where users can forward SMS spam to a certain phone number to report it to the regulator.

“Spam SMS is a simple and convenient way to tell us about spam,” ACMA Chairman Chris Chapman said. “All you need to do is forward the message to 0429 999 888 as soon as you receive it.”

Spam SMS was available for public use as of 11AM am this morning. Would-be spam reporters do not need to register their details to use the service, however, ACMA does recommend that you do register in case they require more information to assist with investigations.

The campaign was aimed at the younger generation of mobile users, with the launch held this morning at the Footscray Community Arts Centre — including the participation of various music and hip hop artists, who performed live.

“As active mobile phone users, young people are increasingly exposed to targeted SMS marketing messages but may be reluctant or indifferent to reporting spam,” said Chapman.

The regulator said that the information recevied by people fowarding on spam SMS’s helped it investigate offenders of the Spam Act (2003). A few past offenders include Funmobile, Vodafone Hutchison Australia, New Dialogue Australia and Big Moible with a formal warning issued to Coca-Cola.

ACMA has reported a sharp increase in the popularity of SMS spam over the past 2 years. As an example, financial year 2008/2009 saw a 71 percent increase in SMS spam when compared to the previous year and the 2009/2010 year has had an increase of 12 percent compared to the previous year.

SMS spam is categorised as messages sent to a mobile without a receiver’s consent, unidentified sender details, no contact details and no unsubscribe option.

More information about SMS Spam can be located here below the registration form and information on SMS scams can be located here.

Image credit: Arnold/Inuyaki, Creative Commons


  1. we can’t blame one company for sending spam sms’s as you have mentioned Hutchison Australia, New Dialogue Australia these are all good service providers..

  2. I had a massive tete a tete with Vodafone about this once. It was for a friend, not me. We won in the end but had to take it to the industry ombudsman. They seemed to smack the bill back on Vodafone face pretty quick. I think what they also need to be doing is allowing us to send them the originating ad website that does it. My not too net savvy friend clicked an online ad which signed him up for $5 a day spam. It would be good to get them at the source. But I guess you don’t really know the true source until they send their first premium SMS.

    • Just realised, this is not really about premium SMS services. Was good to vent my rage though.

  3. Staying compliant as far as electronic messages (SMS is covered by the same laws as email) means you need to follow three specific rules.

    1. You must have consent to deliver the message. There is implied and inferred consent, for more information on consent visit ACMA’s consent page (

    2. You must identify the sender of the message. This can be achieved by setting the CallerID to a company name or better you identify yourself within the message itself. You should also qualify the recipient of the message as to why they are receiving the message. eg. Book Club Members. This weeks specials are…

    3. You must provide a functional opt-out mechanism. You should be able to reply to any text message to stop receiving from a list. Burst SMS ( has a free system that allows you to use a shared long code to do this.

    For more information on SMS compliance visit the ACMA website ( or the Burst SMS Posterous ( they have news, and tips on how to stay compliant when sending SMS messages.

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