Dáil Éireann - Volume 687 - 08 July, 2009

Written Answers. - Mobile Telephony.

Deputy Pat Breen asked the Minister for Communications, Energy and Natural Resources his views on the experience of mobile phone consumers who have large mobile phone bills as a result of receiving premium subscription texts, where the terms and conditions of such subscription services are not immediately evident; his plans to introduce legislation to assist mobile phone consumers; and if he will make a statement on the matter. [28713/09]

  Deputy Eamon Ryan: I am very concerned about the increase in the number of complaints by consumers in recent years in relation to the subscription services, particularly in relation to the lack of transparency in the provision of those services which has resulted in many consumers incurring unexpected charges. In order to address this and other issues concerning the regulation of premium rate services I have obtained Government approval to publish a Bill entitled Communications Regulation (Premium Rate Services) Bill 2009, for the purpose of transferring the regulation of premium rate services from Regtel to ComReg.

The Bill is aimed at ensuring a robust and timely response to those service providers who continue to flout the rules and mislead consumers. It will provide for the necessary enforcement measures to ensure effective regulation by ComReg. I intend to progress the Bill through the Oireachtas as quickly as possible. When enacted, I believe it will adequately address the issues relating to subscription services, lead to improved protection for consumers and enhance confidence in the sector.