The national competition regulator today said there was currently no need to force Telstra to provide wholesale access to its new ADSL and third-generation (3G) Next G mobile networks.
In a speech given in Melbourne today, Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) chairman, Graeme Samuel, said Telstra had recently raised the issue of wholesale access to the networks, in relation to new infrastructure developments.
"The declaration of a resale mobile service that Optus appears to be advocating in relation to Telstra's Next G 850MHz network has not been contemplated by the ACCC," Samuel said, noting facilities-based competition had delivered results in the mobile market.
News Limited newspapers have reported that Optus has demanded access to Next G because the network will eventually replace Telstra's CDMA network, on which Optus currently has some 40,000 customers.
Samuel said the ACCC had not seen a need to take formal steps towards regulating mobile services other than voice termination since a 2003 review.
In regards to Telstra's ADSL network, Samuel noted Telstra had not yet launched its ADSL2+ service into the market. The telco currently provides wholesale access to its ADSL1 service.
The chairman directed enquiries about Telstra's ADSL network to a June 2006 ACCC position paper, A Strategic Review of Fixed Network Services.
"The Commission ... considers that a compelling case for declaration of a wholesale xDSL service at this time has not been made," an extract from the paper quoted by Samuel said.
The paper instead states a preference for generating facilities-based competition through the unbundled local loop service (ULLS). The service allows access to Telstra's copper network but requires telcos to have their own infrastructure in Telstra's telephone exchanges.
In both of these areas, Samuel noted the ACCC would continue to monitor the competitive environment. He pointed out that if Telstra wanted to achieve "regulatory certainty" on its investments, it could apply for more clarity and special treatment under mechanisms in the Trade Practices Act.
Is it really that fast?
What Samuel described as "excessive claims of speed by network service providers" are also on the ACCC's radar. Samuel pointed out the practice of advertising speeds as "up to" a certain threshold was not good enough.
The ACCC supremo cautioned mobile carriers advertising the new generation of 3G services based on the High-Speed Downlink Packet Access (HSDPA) protocol to be mindful of their advertising obligations and disclose all factors affecting speed, particularly when claiming speeds of above 2Mbps.