Thursday, 02 May 2019 14:44

ACCC wants continued regulation of wholesale mobile services Featured

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ACCC wants continued regulation of wholesale mobile services Image Stuart Miles at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, has proposed that the country’s wholesale mobile voice services should continue to be regulated for a further five years.

In a draft report released for consultation on Thursday, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission recommends continuing regulation of the domestic Mobile Terminating Access Service for voice services.

But, the ACCC has also proposed that regulation of the MTAS for SMS services should not continue, due to increased competition from messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp.

The MTAS is a wholesale service that allows consumers on different mobile networks to make calls or send SMS to each other.

The ACCC has regulated the MTAS since 2014 to ensure calls can be made, and SMSs can be sent, between consumers on all mobile phone networks.

In August 2018, the ACCC launched a public inquiry examining whether the current regulation, or declaration, of voice and SMS MTAS should be revoked, extended or varied after it expires on 30 June.

In its statement on Thursday, the ACCC proposed to continue the declaration of voice services, while removing regulation of the SMS termination service.

“Many consumers with smartphones are now using over-the-top messaging services such as iMessage and WhatsApp as alternatives to SMS. Importantly, we have also found that the majority of mobile plans now on offer in the market offer unlimited SMS,” ACCC chair Rod Sims said.

“Our decision to regulate SMS appears to have had the desired effect. We are therefore proposing to remove regulation of MTAS for SMS services as we do not think continued regulation is necessary to promote competition.

“However, over-the-top voice services are not yet substitutes for mobile voice calls as they do not offer the same quality or access to services such as Triple Zero.

“We are therefore proposing to continue declaration of MTAS for voice services.”

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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