The government says it will ensure mobile phone network operators reconfirm consumers’ subscriptions to premium SMS services and Ring Back Tones as police push ahead investigating allegations of phone credit theft.
“Services such as premium SMS and RBT will have to be reconfirmed to check whether customers wish to continue their subscriptions or not,” said Gatot Dewa Broto, a spokesman for the Communications and Information Technology Ministry.
The deadline for reconfirmation is today at midnight.
Some providers allow people to set music as an RBT. The government will not halt the services, Gatot said.
“This is certainly not going to disadvantage musicians. In fact, it will protect them,” he added.
Frustration over telephone credit theft gained public exposure when Feri Kuntoro, a man from East Jakarta, reported Telkomsel to the police two weeks ago for letting a content provider siphon off his credit.
Sr. Comr. Baharudin Djafar, a spokesman for the Jakarta Police, has reassured consumers that police were taking the phone credit theft allegations seriously.
Baharudin said digital forensics techniques would help tell whether a complainant had attempted to cancel a disputed subscription or not. “The important thing is that we explore first whether or not there is a criminal aspect to each case,” he said.
Baharudin added that police had only received three reports of alleged crimes from the public: those of Feri Kuntoro, Hendri Kurniawan and Daniel Kumendong. Those cases were being probed by the Jakarta Police’s cyber-crime unit, he said.
Feri presented further evidence to police on Monday, Baharudin said, handing over physical evidence to support his initial report made on Oct. 4.
The police have also taken the initiative to consult experts in the case, he said.
“We’ve contacted language experts, consumer experts, IT experts and even the Social Affairs Ministry — for cases where there’s a prize on offer, to check whether the competition is registered or not,” Baharudin said.
Network operator Telkomsel will be questioned this week in connection with Feri’s report, the spokesman said.
Feri’s attorney, David Tobing said public-interest lawyers were ready to report network providers that ignored a letter of instruction issued on Friday by the Indonesian Telecommunication Regulatory Body (BRTI).
“I, personally, along with NGOs, will monitor the implementation of the instruction. If there are any [network operators] that breach it, we’ll report them to police,” David said on Monday.
The BRTI’s letter of instruction was directed at 10 mobile network operators, requiring them to take various steps to protect consumers.
These include a ban until further notice on broadcast text messages, pop-up screens and broadcast voice messages. Information must also be prepared for consumers and any unfairly deducted credit be returned.
The Indonesian Cellular Phone Association (ATSI) has indicated its preparedness to comply with the instructions, its chief Sarwoto Atmosutarno told a news conference on Monday.
Sarwoto is also the president director of Telkomsel.