Its report was tabled on March 19 2009. It contained five recommendations:
(1) that the Australian Government pursue a policy of regulating the framework for the wholesale cost of roaming through bilateral and multilateral negotiations with other countries;
(2) that the ACCC introduce reporting requirements for international mobile roaming services on Australian providers;
(3) that the ACMA facilitate a meeting of the Communications Alliance to discuss the development of a minimum standard for consumer information and awareness of roaming and potential costs and that the Australian Government explore opportunities to collaborate with the Australian Telecommunications Users Group's 'Roam Fair' campaign.
(4) that the ACMA develop, through the Communications Alliance, an amendment to the Code on mobile number portability to allow temporary mobile number portability for roaming services.
(5) that when an Australian Government agency provides information to the public on roaming, the alternatives to roaming be included as part of the information.
The Government agreed "in principle" to recommendation (1) saying it would "explore the options available for developing reasonable bilateral and/or multilateral arrangements for wholesale roaming charges, consistent with existing trade obligation...[But] the Government does not intend to take unilateral action on this issue that would be detrimental to Australian interests."
There looks like being a positive outcome to recommendation (2). The response noted the ACCC is proposing that a mobile network operator would be required to provide cost and revenue information as well as reporting on proposed service usage factors, "The ACCC has undertaken consultations on these proposed amendments and a decision in relation to the record-keeping rules is expected in the second half of 2009," it said.
Recommendation (3) was accepted "The Government supports the recommendation that the ACMA facilitate a meeting with the Communications Alliance in the near future...The Government agrees with the second part of the recommendation that the Government explore opportunities to collaborate with the Australian Telecommunications Users Group (ATUG) where appropriate."
Recommendation (4) got short shrift: "The Government
understands that there are significant technical barriers and operational complexities involved with billing systems and agreements between carriers that prevent the implementation of this recommendation. At present, the mobile number portability system is designed for the purpose of permanent transfer of customers rather than temporary porting. New systems would need to be designed in order to introduce temporary mobile number portability and this is likely to result in an increase in costs charged to Australian consumers."
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