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Australia decides not to mandate mobile roaming

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has decided not to “declare” (mandate) domestic mobile roaming. However, it says it has identified a range of regulatory and policy measures that could improve inadequate mobile phone coverage and poor quality of service in regional Australia. “The ACCC’s inquiry found that declaration would likely not lead to lower prices or better coverage or quality of services for regional Australians,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said. However, the ACCC heard from many regional consumers and businesses that inadequate mobile coverage in regional areas affects the social and economic wellbeing of regional communities. “We identified a number of issues where we think improvements could be made that would deliver better outcomes for regional consumers,” Sims said. “Better transparency about network coverage and quality, more accountability about network investments and better information for regulatory and policy decision makers are all important. We will shortly commence a review of the facilities access code to identify barriers to co-location or infrastructure deployment and a review of the ACCC’s infrastructure RKR to improve the information that we collect about mobile networks. We will also actively engage with industry and federal and state governments about the issues this Inquiry has identified.” In its inquiry, the ACCC says it “carefully examined” competition in the mobile services market, and the incentives of the mobile operators to make investments to expand coverage and improve their networks, particularly in regional areas. “Declaration could actually harm the interests of consumers by undermining the incentives of mobile operators to make investments to compete with each other in regional areas,” Sims said. However, Dan Lloyd of Vodafone, the third largest operator, said: “Large parts of the country will continue to miss out on the mobile coverage and choice that it wants, needs and deserves. This decision rings alarm bells for regional communities. The inquiry has shone a spotlight on the alarming lack of competition and high prices for mobile in many areas, but the ACCC seems to think that this is ok.” See more and here 

  • Tuesday, 17 October 2017

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