The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has given telecommunications providers, consumers and lobby groups, one month to state their case for or against domestic mobile roaming.
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.
The possibility of telco carriers having to share networks has left Vodafone, Telstra and Optus divided in their views over the potential impact of the declaration.
As reported by the Australian Financial Review, Vodafone Hutchison Australia calls for a green light, but Optus and Telstra are united against.
Telstra and Optus argue that the case for mobile roaming will negatively impact their network investment across Australia.
However, Vodafone argues in favour of the move, claiming that roaming regulations are present in other western countries similar to Australia with a broad landscape, dotted with low population areas.
“Mobile coverage and choice of service provider are important issues for Australians, particularly those living in regional, rural and remote areas,” ACCC chairman, Rod Sim, said.
“The inquiry seeks to explore whether domestic mobile roaming would promote competition among providers and its effects on investment in mobile infrastructure.”
Sims added that the inquiry also 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.
Submissions on the issue are due November 25.