ACCC streamlines mobile regulation

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is planning to stop regulating the wholesale mobile originating access service after 30 June.Regulation of the mobile originating access service is currently limited to the small sub-group of telephone calls made from mobile phones to 13/1300 and 1800 numbers.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is planning to stop regulating the wholesale mobile originating access service after 30 June.

Regulation of the mobile originating access service is currently limited to the small sub-group of telephone calls made from mobile phones to 13/1300 and 1800 numbers.

The mobile originating access service is an essential input in calls made from a mobile phone, where the caller is on a separate network to the person receiving the call. Without access to this service, the receiving network cannot receive the call.

The mobile originating access service was deemed to be a declared service on 1 July 1997. Due to the nature of the existing commercial arrangements between network owners, declaration was limited to calls made to 13/1300 and 1800 special number services.

ACCC commissioner Ed Willett, said the decision was part of a wide-ranging ACCC review of the regulation of mobile telephone services in Australia.

"The aim of the ACCC's review of mobile phone services is to ensure regulation will promote the long-term interests of end-users of telecommunications services. In the case of the mobile originating access service, no party has provided substantial evidence to suggest ongoing regulation is required to achieve this outcome," he said.

Willett added that "while individual carriers appear to have control over access to calls originating on their network, we have seen little if any evidence of them taking advantage of this control to either deny access to their network altogether, or to set excessively high charges for access. This finding is supported by the fact that the ACCC hasn't been notified of any disputes in relation to access to the mobile originating service since 1999."

He added that none of the submissions received by the ACCC in the course of the inquiry identified a situation where a carrier failed to provide access on "reasonable terms."

The ACCC is now seeking submissions on its draft decision by close of business on 9 June. Following consideration of all submissions, the ACCC expects to issue its final decision in late June.