Australia’s communications regulator penalised MVNO Circles Australia, which trades as Circles.Life, for breaching consumer regulations over an extended period, potentially putting customers’ safety at risk.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) stated Circles.Life paid an AUD253,080 ($169,689) penalty issued after an investigation found it failed to provide customer information to the Integrated Public Number Database (IPND) more than 60,000 times between January 2022 and August 2022.

ACMA explained the IPND is used to help locate people when they call the country’s main emergency service number.

It stated its probe found Circles.Life’s IT systems had an error preventing IPND data from uploading and the company did not conduct required regular checks which would have uncovered the failure.

Nerida O’Loughlin, ACMA’s chair, stated it “is alarming” the operator had “no idea its customer information was not being uploaded until contacted by the” authority.

Circles.Life committed to a court-enforceable undertaking requiring an independent review of its compliance practices for IPND obligations and to make any necessary improvements.

The operator paid an AUD199,800 infringement and AUD100,000 in compensation in 2022 for failing to have adequate multi-factor ID checks in place.