Mobile services regulation

  • The ACCC actively monitors the mobile services market and regulates mobile terminating services.
  • We do this to stop mobile operators abusing their monopoly over mobile termination and to help make mobile services competitive for consumers.

What the ACCC does

  • We set the terms for the termination of wholesale voice services.
  • We regulate mobile terminating services to ensure consumers can call mobile phones on any network, regardless of provider.
  • We provide advice to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) on spectrum allocation limits.
  • We monitor the mobile services market.

What the ACCC can't do

  • We don’t set the prices of retail mobile services.
  • We don’t set prices for the termination of SMS text services.

About mobile terminating services

To use your mobile phone to make calls it must be connected to a mobile phone network. The network you are connected to depends on who your mobile service provider is.

When you receive a mobile call from someone who is on a different mobile phone network than you the call is:

  1. first transferred from their network to your network
  2. then carried over your network to your mobile phone. This final step is mobile termination.

Network operators charge each other for providing these mobile termination services.

What we do in regulating mobile termination

The ACCC is responsible for regulating access to wholesale telecommunications services. As part of this role, we regulate mobile termination services.

We set the terms for the termination of wholesale voice services. This includes the price terms and non-price terms. It is known as the mobile terminating access service.

We regulate mobile termination services to:

  • stop mobile operators abusing their monopoly over mobile termination
  • keep mobile phone services competitive for consumers.

Because we regulate mobile terminating services:

  • mobile operators can’t refuse to provide mobile termination to other network operators
  • prices, terms and conditions set by the ACCC apply to mobile termination services when operators can’t agree on what’s fair
  • mobile phone users can call any mobile phone user in Australia, no matter what network they use.

The legal basis of our functions

Our work is under the Competition and Consumer Act 2010 and the Telecommunications Act 1997.

Mobile projects

See a complete list of telecommunications and internet projects.

Mobile services projects

Title Industry Type Status
Mobile Infrastructure Report Communications Monitoring Ongoing
9 September 2022

The Mobile Infrastructure Report provides analysis on the change in mobile network operators' (MNOs) mobile infrastructure and coverage. The analysis is based on information collected from the three national MNOs - Singtel Optus Pty Limited (Optus), Telstra Corporation Limited (Telstra) and TPG Telecom Limited (TPG) under the Audit of Telecommunications Infrastructure Assets – Record Keeping Rules (Infrastructure RKR).

Regional mobile infrastructure inquiry 2022-23 Communications Inquiry Submissions due
5 August 2022

On 31 March 2022, the Australian Government announced that it had directed the ACCC to conduct an inquiry into towers used in the supply of mobile telecommunications and other radiocommunications services in regional areas, and into the feasibility of providing mobile roaming during natural disasters or other emergencies.

Spectrum competition limits Communications Policy development Ongoing
27 April 2021

When the ACMA is allocating spectrum licences, it may impose limits (competition limits) on the amount of spectrum that a person can acquire under the allocated licences. In determining allocation limits, the ACMA is required to consult with the ACCC on the competition limits that may be appropriate.

Regional mobile issues Communications Monitoring Ongoing

During the domestic mobile roaming declaration inquiry, the ACCC received submissions from many regional stakeholders regarding regional mobile issues, such as inadequate mobile coverage and coverage information. At the end of the inquiry, the ACCC released a separate paper Measures to address regional mobile issues, which discussed a number of measures which could improve outcomes for regional mobile consumers.

Domestic Mobile Roaming Declaration Inquiry 2016 Communications Access declaration Finalised
5 May 2017

On 5 September 2016, the ACCC commenced an inquiry into whether to declare a wholesale domestic mobile roaming service.

Declaration and access determination projects

Title Industry Type Status
Mobile Terminating Access Service access determination inquiry - 2019 Communications Access determination Finalised
2 October 2020

The ACCC is holding a public inquiry under section 497 of the Telecommunications Act 1997 (Cth) on whether to extend, vary, or revoke the current domestic mobile terminating access service (MTAS) final access determination (FAD).

Mobile terminating access service declaration inquiry - 2018 Communications Access declaration Finalised
28 June 2019

The ACCC commenced an inquiry into whether to extend, vary or revoke the domestic mobile terminating access service declaration, or whether to make a new declaration.

Mobile terminating access service FAD inquiry 2014 Communications Access determination Finalised
24 August 2015

The ACCC commences a public inquiry into making a final access determination for the Mobile Terminating Access Service (MTAS).

Mobile Terminating Access Service declaration review - 2013 Communications Access declaration Finalised
17 June 2014

The ACCC commenced an inquiry into whether to extend, vary or revoke the domestic mobile terminating access service declaration, or whether to make a new declaration.

Final access determination for the Mobile Terminating Access Service - 2011 Communications Access determination Finalised
2011

On 8 December 2011 the ACCC released a final access determination (FAD) for the mobile terminating access service (MTAS) for the period 1 January 2012 to 30 June 2014.

Mobile Terminating Access Service declaration review - 2009 Communications Access declaration Finalised
2009

The ACCC concluded its public inquiry into the declaration of the mobile terminating access service (MTAS) by releasing its final report on 28 May 2009.

MTAS pricing principles and indicative prices 2009-2011 Communications Price determination Ongoing
2011

On 19 March 2009, the ACCC released final pricing principles and indicative prices for the mobile terminating access service (MTAS) for the period of 1 January 2009 to 31 December 2011.

Mobile terminating access service (MTAS) 2007 pricing principles and the WIK model Communications Price determination Finalised
2007

After considering interested parties’ submissions, the ACCC released the Draft MTAS pricing principles determination for the period 1 July 2007 to 31 December 2008.

Optus mobile terminating access service undertaking 2007 Communications Access undertaking Finalised
2007

On 16 February 2007 Optus lodged an ordinary access undertaking (Optus 2007 Undertaking) with the ACCC about the mobile terminating access service (MTAS).

Hutchison mobile terminating access service undertaking 2005 Communications Access undertaking Finalised
October 2005

On 23 June 2006, the ACCC issued its final decision to reject Hutchison's undertakings.

Vodafone mobile terminating access service undertaking 2004 Communications Access undertaking Finalised
November 2004

The ACCC released a Final decision on the Vodafpne MTAS undertaking on the 31 March 2006

Optus mobile terminating access service undertaking 2004 Communications Access undertaking Finalised

On 23 December 2004 Optus lodged an ordinary access undertaking with the ACCC about the mobile terminating access service (MTAS).

Mobile services review Communications Review Finalised
2005

The ACCC announced a review of mobile services in March 2003 and released a discussion paper in April 2003.

Mobile terminating & originating access pricing principles Communications Price determination Finalised
2002

In March 2002 the ACCC varied the GSM termination services declaration to make it technology neutral.

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