ACMA Calls Out Symbio Over Phone Scam Rules


The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has ordered telcos Symbio Wholesale Pty Limited and Symbio Networks Pty Ltd to comply with Australia’s phone scam rules after an investigation found they breached information-sharing and reporting obligations.

Symbio Wholesale failed to promptly share information about scam calls with other telcos and the ACMA on multiple occasions. Symbio Wholesale and Symbio Networks also failed to accurately report the number of scam calls they blocked from April to June 2023.

“Scam reduction rules are only as effective as the weakest link, and on this occasion, Symbio failed to meet its obligations,” ACMA Member Samatha Yorke said. “While there is no suggestion Symbio perpetrated these scams, in these cases, it did not provide timely notifications about these calls to other telcos, compromising the ability of those telcos to take rapid action against scams.”

The Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMs Industry Code places information-sharing obligations on telcos once they identify scam calls and when they are notified of scams by other telcos. These processes enable rapid scam identification and disruption across the networks.

“All telcos must monitor, investigate, trace and block scams and quickly share information to prevent scams reaching the public,” said Yorke, adding that they faced penalties of up to AUD250,000 for breaching ACMA directions to comply with industry codes.

“This matter is deeply concerning as it follows an ACMA finding under superseded rules in 2022 that Symbio failed to adequately investigate scam calls after being informed of them by other telcos,” added Yorke.

“We will be closely monitoring Symbio’s compliance with the rules and won’t hesitate to take stronger action if future non-compliance is found.”

In a statement, Symbio said, “Symbio acknowledges receipt of the ACMA’s recent directions to comply with the Industry Code C661:2022 Reducing Scam Calls and Scam SMS. We appreciate the opportunity to engage with the ACMA and have cooperated fully with its recent investigation.

Symbio takes its compliance responsibilities very seriously and promptly took steps to remediate the issues when identified. In its role as a transit provider, Symbio’s principal contribution to reducing scam calls and scam SMS is by identifying calls with scam-like patterns and working with our partners to investigate and block when required.  

Symbio remains committed to reducing scam calls to protect members of the public and best serve the interests of our industry.”