Monday, 09 July 2018 08:23

NZ decides to retain power to regulate mobile roaming Featured

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The New Zealand Commerce Commission has taken a preliminary decision to retain the power to regulate mobile roaming in the country, in the event that it is required in future.

The final decision is expected on 4 September and public submissions on the Commission's preliminary view can be emailed to regulation.branch@comcom.govt.nz before 5pm on 30 July.

New Zealand has three mobile network operators — Spark, Vodafone and 2Degrees — and the Commission can ask any of them to provide wholesale access to a new entrant in the field.

This would enable the new entrant to expand its own coverage well beyond its own physical network.

Mobile roaming allows customers of one mobile network to use another network when they are outside their own provider’s coverage area.

In October last year, Australia's competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, decided not to allow mobile roaming.

Issuing its decision, the ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “The ACCC’s inquiry found that declaration would likely not lead to lower prices or better coverage or quality of services for regional Australians."

The ACCC issued a draft decision in May 2017 indicating its intentions and this led to Vodafone Hutchison Australia asking the Federal Court to review the ACCC's conduct. The Court rejected the application.

The NZ regulatory body is required to consider the deregulation of certain services every five years under the laws of that country.

“National mobile roaming helped 2Degrees deliver a nationwide service for its customers from day one, in advance of rolling out its own national network infrastructure," Telecommunications commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.

"We believe the power to regulate remains an important competition safeguard, especially with 5G networks and potential new entrants on the horizon."

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

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