ACCC announces inquiry into access to mobile networks

From the ACCC:  The ACCC has announced a public inquiry into whether it would be preferable to extend, vary or revoke the domestic mobile terminating access service (MTAS) declaration, or whether to make a new declaration.

The MTAS is a service offered between competitors so that calls on different mobile networks can be connected.  Mobile network operators provide the service when a call is connected on their network.  The originating network of the call pays the MTAS to the receiving network.

The cost of the MTAS is passed on to the consumer.  The ACCC regulates the MTAS to ensure that calls can be connected across all networks.

ACCC Chairman Rod Sims made the following remarks:

“Network quality and performance have become important considerations for consumers choosing a mobile provider. This inquiry will examine the impact of changes to the wholesale termination services and whether regulation is needed to ensure that consumers can connect with other networks.”

Submissions are being sought on:

  • Whether there are now any substitute services for the MTAS or fixed to mobile calls, particularly considering the development of voice over IP services (VoIP) and changes in consumer behaviour
  • Whether continued declaration of the MTAS will still promote competition in the relevant markets
  • Whether continued declaration will promote the efficient use of and investment in infrastructure, particularly considering increases in data usage and network sharing arrangements
  • Whether SMS and MMS should also be declared, and
  • Whether voice services provided over 4G/LTE networks should be covered by the MTAS service description.

The Competition and Consumer Act 2010 requires the ACCC to review the current MTAS declaration before it expires in June 2014.

The discussion paper is available at

Submissions are invited by 5 July 2013. A draft decision is expected to be issued for public consultation before a final decision is announced.

You can read the full story from the ACCC here.

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