Telco Lycamobile has been ordered to pay an infringement notice of $604,800 after the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) found it had committed “prolonged and large-scale” customer data failures.
The Telstra mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) was found that it did not provide accurate customer information to an industry database used by police, fire and ambulance services, and also failed to comply with ID check rules before signing up prepaid mobile customers.
ACMA said Lycamobile failed to provide accurate information 245,902 times while the ID check failures happened 4,207 times.
The industry database is called the Integrated Public Numbers Database (IPND), which is used by emergency services when responding to Triple Zero (000) calls from the public. Information from the IPND is also used for the Emergency Alert Service.
“Telcos have a responsibility to help keep Australians safe during natural disasters or life-threatening circumstances,” ACMA chair Nerida O’Loughlin said.
“Lycamobile may have put people’s lives at risk by not passing accurate information on to the IPND.”
This has been the latest incident where Lycamobile faced a significant fine from government agencies, after it was caught underpaying staff twice in 2018 and 2017, and for failing to lodge its annual documents confirming its compliance with the Telecommunications Consumer Protections Code (TCP). The telco was also found to have failures related to complaints-handling procedures in 2016.
In addition to the fines, the ACMA also required Lycamobile to conduct an independent audit of its systems and processes and to implement improvements, given the serious nature of Lycamobile’s non-compliance over a lengthy period.