ICSTIS has upheld fines of £45,000 and £50,000, against Zamano and Atlas Interactive Group Ltd respectively, for unsolicited reversed billed SMS joke services the other day dismissing appeals from both parties, but I was more interested to see those old favourites – WIN (Wireless Information Network) appearing yet again: fined £5,000 for unsolicited SMS (content and/or promotion were provided by 2Comm Ltd). This was the 23rd adjudication against WIN in 30 months (if they tried harder I’m sure they could hit one a month), resulting in fines totalling £213,000. That is over £7,000 a month. So, does this show that ICSTIS works? Or does the fact that WIN have not been referred to Ofcom despite running at almost an adjudication a month show that ICSTIS doesn’t work?
But then again maybe ICSTIS are more effectual than Ofcom. Today, Ofcom fined Telecom Billing Services (TBS) £50,000 for failing to act on a Notification issued to it on 29 September 2006 relating to suspected persistent network misuse, in particular the sending of unsolicited text messages for adult chat services. TBS failed to make any representations to Ofcom and has failed to remedy the consequences of its contravention or provided any evidence that it has taken steps to ensure that its contravention is not repeated. Ofcom therefore decided to impose a financial penalty. This fine follow a previous fine of £50,000 issued in 2006 for the same reasons (see Development Dates: 22 June and 6 June 2006). The maximum financial penalty Ofcom can impose under section 130 of the Act is £50,000 per notification ( it used to be a mere £5,000 when the act was passed – a total joke, but at least the Communications Act 2003 (Maximum Penalty for Persistent Misuse of Network or Service) Order 2006 pushed it up to £50,000) – a figure that frankly still falls short of what is need in my view. Ofcom’s update fails to tell us whether TBS has paid the first fine or not – one presumes not.