ACCC releases discussion paper on domestic mobile roaming

26 October 2016

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has today released a discussion paper as part of its inquiry into whether to declare a wholesale domestic mobile roaming service.

Domestic mobile roaming would allow consumers to access mobile services through another operator’s network when outside of the coverage area of their service provider.

“Mobile coverage and choice of service provider are important issues for Australians, particularly those living in regional, rural and remote areas. This inquiry will explore the extent to which domestic mobile roaming would promote competition among providers and its effect on investment in mobile infrastructure,” ACCC Chairman Rod Sims said. 

“This inquiry provides an opportunity to reconsider this issue considering the present state of the market, the development of mobile networks since the last inquiry over 10 years ago, and current and future consumer needs for connectivity.”

The discussion paper seeks views on a number of issues relevant to determining whether to declare a mobile roaming service, including:

  • the current state of competition for mobile services and whether there are barriers to extending mobile networks in regional Australia
  • the effect that declaring a mobile roaming service may have upon competition
  • the extent and nature of investment which has taken place in mobile networks since the last declaration inquiry
  • the effect a declaration may have on  mobile network operators’ incentives to invest in extending and improving their networks
  • the importance of geographic coverage for consumers and mobile service providers’ ability to compete.

“The ACCC invites industry, consumer and other interest groups, and consumers themselves to contribute to this important discussion about mobile services in Australia. What we will consider is whether a declaration of mobile services will benefit competition and consumers in the long term,” Mr Sims said.

The ACCC invites submissions in response to the discussion paper until 25 November 2016.

The ACCC expects to release a draft decision in early 2017 and a final decision in the first half of 2017.

Further information on the mobile roaming declaration inquiry and the discussion paper is available at: Domestic Mobile Roaming Declaration Inquiry 2016.

Notes to editors

The ACCC has set up an online consultation hub where the discussion paper and a factsheet on the discussion paper for consumers and businesses can be accessed. The ACCC will examine information collected from submissions and through further targeted consultation including specific information requests.

Background

The ACCC announced the commencement of a public inquiry into whether to declare a wholesale domestic roaming service on 5 September 2016.

The ACCC is undertaking this inquiry in order to determine whether the difference in geographic coverage provided by the three mobile networks is having a detrimental effect on competition in the market for mobile services, and whether regulated mobile roaming would be in the long-term interests of consumers.

 

Release number: 
MR 193/16
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