Recognising the continued importance of the original data technology, the Wireless Application Service Providers' Association of SA (WASPA) has added strong consumer protection clauses relating to WAP in the latest version of the Association's Code of Conduct. WAP (Wireless Application Protocol) remains one of the primary ways in which the mobile consumer accesses data services.
Version 12.0 was ratified by members at a recent AGM with clauses 13.3.2 through to 13.3.4 specifically making provision for WAP 'push' messages sent to consumers to "include a short code to which the recipient can send the STOP command to opt-out."
In addition it was said that "further information on how the recipient can opt out of future promotions must also be available from the WAP site. The type of service (e.g. subscription service) and the cost of service (e.g. R7/day) must also be clearly displayed within the WAP site."
Tightening up of rules
According to Russel Stromin, chair of the Code of Conduct Committee, these amendments to the Code of Conduct represent further tightening up of the rules according to which WASPs conduct their business.
"The addition of new clauses pertaining to WAP services may seem relatively minor but they are the latest in a very long line of enhancements to the WASPA Code of Conduct. What we are seeing now is further evidence of a long-term trend of active consumer protection by WASPA. While the amendments are minor, the thinking behind them represents a major and extended commitment towards ensuring South African mobile users feel secure when they interact with our members' services.
"Without codifying the framework within which WASPs operate, anything goes. In an industry where anything goes, nobody feels secure, especially consumers."
"Using mobile services with confidence"
While some clauses have been amended, the overriding objective remains the same, as set out in Clause 1.2 of the Code. "The primary objective of the WASPA Code of Conduct is to ensure that members of the public can use mobile services with confidence, assured that they will be provided with accurate information about all services and the pricing associated with those services."
Furthermore, the Code aims to, "equip customers and consumers with a mechanism for addressing any concerns or complaints relating to services provided by WASPA members."
The Code of Conduct also sets standards for advertising mobile application services and includes a framework for the provision of adult services, to ensure adequate protection of children from potentially harmful content.
"We are very pleased with the current incarnation of the Code of Conduct. It is the most up-to-date mobile consumer protection document in the country right now," concluded Stromin.