Nokia fined for spam texts in Australia

HELSINKI Tue Jan 24, 2012 5:01am EST

General view of the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki July 18, 2011.  REUTERS/Jussi Helttunen/Lehitikuva

General view of the Nokia flagship store in Helsinki July 18, 2011.

Credit: Reuters/Jussi Helttunen/Lehitikuva

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Australian regulators have fined Nokia, the world's largest cellphone maker by volume, A$55,000 ($58,000) for spamming customers and said the Finnish company should change its text message (SMS) marketing.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority said texts Nokia sent to clients as tips to get more out of their phones promoted the company without offering an 'unsubscribe' option as required by law.

Nokia said it has discontinued the service in Australia and was ramping it down elsewhere, adding unsubscribing was simpler on its current devices.

The regulator said Nokia had agreed to train employees engaged in SMS marketing about legal requirements.

"Some businesses are still not getting SMS marketing right. The same rules apply to SMS marketing as for email marketing, and the same rules apply to all businesses, big and small," said Richard Bean, acting chairman of the authority.

While advertisers have great hopes for cellphone marketing, including location-based services, potential hostility from customers has held them back.

The Australian regulator said it saw a 370 percent rise in reports from the public about SMS messages believed to be spam in 2010-11.

(Reporting By Tarmo Virki; Editing by Erica Billingham and Dan Lalor)

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