How To: Unsubscribe from Premium Rate SMS Subscriptions

How To: Unsubscribe from Premium Rate SMS Subscriptions

Found any strange, additional charges on your mobile bill?

If these charges are listed under the “Third Party Charges” or “Separate Purchases” section of your bill, and the numbers start with ‘19’, they are most likely Premium SMS charges.

What Is Premium SMS?

Premium rate SMS and MMS services are information and entertainment services provided by third party providers, which you can use or receive on your mobile.

All Premium SMS services are charged separately to your normal mobile usage, they are not included in your SMS allowance. It is important to check the costs and conditions prior to signing up for a premium SMS service as you may be activating a subscription based service rather than just a once off purchase.

Examples of Premium SMS Services

There is an array of interesting, amusing and entertaining services you can subscribe to such as:

  • Mobile ringtones
  • Mobile wallpaper
  • Mobile games
  • Competitions
  • Horoscopes and psychic readings
  • Voting
  • Chat services
  • Age-restricted content
  • Music video clips
  • News, sports and weather updates
  • HSC results
  • Directory services
  • Financial data
  • IQ tests


How does it work?

Premium SMS services can be used for a once off purchase or the subscription to an ongoing service.

One off SMS Services 

Whilst you are watching a TV show you want to save a contestant from leaving. You would message an assigned keyword from you mobile device to a Premium SMS serviced number. This is an example of a one off purchase.

SMS Subscription Services 

You send a message to a Horoscope service that will provide your horoscope daily to your mobile device at a premium rate. Every day you will receive a message with your horoscope and will be charged a premium SMS rate for the service every month until you opt out of the service. This is an example of a SMS subscription service.

How Much does it Cost?

The cost for a premium SMS subscription will vary depending on the third party service provider and the product or service they’re providing.

While your carrier will bill you for the Premium SMS charges, they do not supply the content or control the price.

How to Unsubscribe?

So, if you find yourself receiving Premium SMS messages, how can you stop them?

  • Do not delete any messages you receive from a premium SMS service subscription, as the details in the message may assist you if you have any follow up queries.
  • SMS the word “STOP” to the number you received premium rate SMS from.
  • Contact the third party service provider. To find out the contact details of the service provider, go to the 19 SMS website and enter in the details you have on your bill into the 19 Service Finder.
  • Contact your carrier to have Premium SMS services barred from your service. This will only prevent you from sending any future Premium SMS services but will not stop any existing subscriptions you are receiving.  To unsubscribe from these you may need the ability to reply to these numbers with the word “STOP”, so do not put a barring in place until you unsubscribe via SMS (or via the 19SMS website) NOTE: There is no fee to activate Premium SMS barring. 


  • Submit a complaint to the Telecommunication Industry Ombudsman online or call on 1800 062 058.


Have you ever subscribed to a premium SMS service? Tell us about it in the comment section below!