Communications

ACCC commences inquiry into regulation of wholesale mobile voice and SMS services

The ACCC has today commenced a public inquiry to decide whether to extend, vary or revoke the domestic mobile terminating access service (MTAS) declaration, or whether to make a new declaration.

The MTAS is a wholesale service that allows consumers on different mobile networks to make calls or send SMS to each other. The ACCC regulates the MTAS to ensure that calls can be made between consumers on all mobile phone networks.

The Australian mobile industry has changed significantly even since 2014 when the current declaration was made.

Facilities Access Code Review 2018

The ACCC’s A Code of Access to Telecommunications Transmission Towers, Sites of Towers and Underground Facilities (the Facilities Access Code) was made under Clause 37 of Part 5 of Schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act 1997. It governs how access to certain telecommunications facilities owned by telecommunications carriers, including mobile towers and underground ducts, is provided to other carriers seeking to install their equipment on or in those facilities.

Broadband speeds strong but improvements needed for some

The ACCC’s latest broadband speed data, released today, shows mainly pleasing, but some concerning, results. While most NBN fixed-line broadband customers are receiving relatively fast internet speeds, including during busy hours, which we strongly welcome, there is still an important number who are receiving poor service, including around 7% of consumers who receive less than half of the maximum speed of their plan.

Discussion Paper

The ACCC has released a discussion paper inviting submissions on whether the MTAS should continue to be declared and whether any changes to the MTAS are required.

Written submissions to the discussion paper will be accepted until 5.00 pm on 14 September 2018.

MyRepublic pays penalties for NBN speed claims

NBN provider MyRepublic Pty Ltd (MyRepublic) has paid penalties totalling $25,200 following the ACCC issuing two infringement notices for alleged false or misleading representations about its NBN service performance.

Between December 2017 and April 2018, MyRepublic marketed its NBN services using statements such as “up to nbnTM100 Speed Tier” and “nbn™50 Speed Tier” on its website.

The MyRepublic website contained fine print disclaimers that the ACCC considered were ineffective as they were not prominent and did not provide clear information.

When and how to intervene in markets

In a speech to the Australian Conference of Economists in Canberra today, Chair Rod Sims discussed the ACCC’s approach to market intervention in our current inquiries.

“Enhancing competition does not mean protecting all market participants from failure, nor does consumer protection extend to shielding consumers from price increases set by the markets.”