Premium SMS – Article

 source: date: 06/2013,

‘Premium SMS’ are also known as ‘Mobile Premium Services’. The service is bought using your mobile and provides both entertainment and information content delivered either as a standard SMS (text) or as an MMS (multimedia file) to your mobile phone.

When you buy a premium SMS, you will be charged a ‘premium’ rate  (that means it costs more than a standard SMS or MMS). A message can cost up to $6.60!

Examples of premium SMS include wallpapers, ringtones, music and game downloads, horoscopes and sport scores.

How do I get it?

  • You can get premium SMS by ‘opting-in’ to the service and you can do this in a few ways:
  • Via SMS – by texting a keyword displayed in an advertisement.
  • Premium SMS service numbers are usually 6 or 8 digit numbers starting with ‘19’.
  • Online – when you enter your mobile number in an online advertisement
  • By responding to a voice prompt in an automated recorded message received on your mobile (this is called Interactive Voice Response).
  • You should receive a ‘confirmation of consent’ which means the Premium SMS provider will tell you that you’ve said ‘yes’ to receiving content.
  • You can opt-in for either a single (one-off) or a subscription (multiple) Premium SMS.



What you need to know before signing up to Premium SMS

× KNOW what you are purchasing and how much it will cost

× CHECK if it’s a subscription and how often you’ll be sent SMS or if it’s a one-off

× CHECK that your phone is compatible to receive Premium SMS

× READ the terms and conditions

× CHECK that there is a Customer Helpline that you can contact

× CHECK that a way of unsubscribing is clearly advertised

× ASK questions if you are unsure

× CHECK whether there is an extra sign-up cost

× Do NOT delete any premium SMS messages as they can help you if a problem comes up



What are the possible dangers of Premium SMS?

  • It can be hard to cancel a Premium SMS subscription service especially if the provider is based overseas.
  • You might need to use the data on your phone to access Premium SMS content (like a video sent via SMS). This means you will be using your data on top of paying for the Premium service.
  • Be aware of scams. If you weren’t asked to confirm your intention to subscribe, you may have been scammed. If you think you’ve been scammed, keep the message and report it to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission: 1300 302 502 or

I don’t want to receive Premium SMS services anymore…How can I cancel it?

  • You can cancel your subscription at ANY time. Just SMS the word ‘STOP’ to the ‘19’ number you originally subscribed to. You should receive confirmation from the Premium Service provider that the service has been cancelled.
  • If you keep receiving messages, contact the customer service line to make sure they got your request to cancel.
  • You can also choose to have Premium SMS services blocked or barred for free. Contact your mobile phone company to find out how.

NOTE: there is no minimum contract period, so you cannot be charged early termination fees.

What should I do if I have a problem with Premium SMS?

  1. Contact the Premium SMS provider’s Customer Helpline; the Helpline number should be clearly displayed on the ad. You can also look up their number on the 19SMS website
  2. Contact your mobile phone service provider.
  3. If you have tried fixing the problem yourself, but haven’t been able to, you can make a complaint to the ‘Telecommunications Industry Ombudsman.’ If you’d like help making a complaint, click here.


This page was last reviewed in June 2013 

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