SINGAPORE: The Infocomm Media Development Authority (IMDA) has blacklisted Zero Mobile and suspended its licence, after the virtual telecommunications company failed to address billing disputes with former subscribers.
Zero Mobile's licence to provide mobile virtual network operator services has been suspended with immediate effect, IMDA said in a news release on Thursday (Mar 12).
The authority has blacklisted the Australia-based company as well as its directors.
"This is due to Zero Mobile’s failure to address outstanding billing disputes with ex-subscribers in spite of IMDA’s reminders, following the cessation of Zero Mobile’s service plans in December 2019," said the authority.
Zero Mobile stopped offering its mobile plans to customers in Singapore due to an increasingly crowded telco market and customers' poor payment record, TODAY reported in December.
IMDA said it had directed Zero Mobile to resolve its billing issues with former subscribers and advised former subscribers to stop any recurring auto-payment arrangements with the company.
It is currently investigating Zero Mobile for contraventions of consumer protection requirements under the authority's Telecom Competition Code, and said it would take enforcement action if there were any breaches.
At the same time, IMDA said it has worked with Zero Mobile to minimise the impact on about 230 former subscribers affected by the cessation of service, including ensuring their numbers are ported over to other telcos.
The authority is also assisting 12 former subscribers with their billing issues.
If Zero Mobile fails to comply with IMDA's direction to resolve all billing disputes, the authority said it will cancel the telco's licence on Mar 18.
Like other mobile virtual network operators in Singapore, Zero Mobile has been leasing network capacity from incumbent telcos - in its case, Singtel.
The company had a challenging start trying to carve out a niche in Singapore's competitive mobile space.
Its chief executive officer Glenn Mohammed told CNA last year that Zero Mobile had been “let down” by some partners and suppliers but declined to go into detail and “point fingers”.