Telstra wants light-handed stance from ACCC on 3G

Telstra has called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to be "light-handed" in dealing with 3G after the telco heavyweight tied the knot with Hutchison to jointly own and operate H3GA's existing 3G radio access network.Telstra spokesperson Rod Bruem said the ACCC's "calm" approach towards the mobile sector has allowed the industry to grow and expects the same treatment to be given to 3G networks.

Telstra has called on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to be "light-handed" in dealing with 3G after the telco heavyweight tied the knot with Hutchison to jointly own and operate H3GA's existing 3G radio access network.

Telstra spokesperson Rod Bruem said the ACCC's "calm" approach towards the mobile sector has allowed the industry to grow and expects the same treatment to be given to 3G networks.

3G refers to a set of mobile technologies that enable users simultaneous voice and data services, high-speed Internet access, high-quality video telephony and CD-quality music services.

"The ACCC has taken a very light handed approach in the mobile sector -- that's why the industry has done so well. We expect ACCC to recognise that in terms of its consideration in 3G," Bruem said.

Telstra will be paying Hutchison AU$450 million in instalments from November for a 50 percent share of the network and to help fund its future development. The two telecommunications companies will establish a joint venture to run the operation.

Bruem said "it is too early to tell" whether Telstra will be wholesaling the 3G network to rivals such as major carriers Optus and Vodafone.

"I think anything is possible, but it's too early for this sort of arrangements for me to give you an answer," Bruem told ZDNet Australia.

He added that Telstra would not be expecting Optus or Vodafone to ring them anytime soon to ask them to share the network.

Bruem said "We understand that Optus and Vodafone are both committed to building their own 3G networks and so we anticipate that it's what they would do."

Vodafone announced last November -- following months of unsuccessful partnership negotiations -- the company would go it alone in planning the initial deployment of a 3G network expected to kick off operations in 2005.. The company subsequently announced an infrastructure development partnership with Nokia.

Optus has announced plans to launch 3G services by mid-2005 and has said it also would be open to sharing 3G infrastructure. The company recently advertised several positions related to 3G network construction and deployment, including a 3G project manager and three radio engineering experts.

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