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ACCC proposes to extend regulation of mobile call services

ACCC proposes to extend regulation of mobile call services

Not including SMS services

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has proposed to continue regulating Australia’s domestic Mobile Terminating Access Service (MTAS) for voice services for another five years.

MTAS is a wholesale service that allows consumers on different mobile networks to make calls or send SMS to each other.

However, ACCC is also proposing regulation of MTAS for SMS services to not continue "due to increased competition from messaging services like iMessage and WhatsApp".

The ACCC, which has regulated the MTAS since 2014, commenced a public inquiry in August 2018 to decide if its declaration should be extended, changed or simply quashed.

"Many consumers with smartphones are now using over-the-top messaging services such as iMessage and WhatsApp as alternatives to SMS," ACCC chair Rod Sims said. "Importantly, we have also found that the majority of mobile plans now on offer in the market offer unlimited SMS.

"Our decision to regulate SMS appears to have had the desired effect. We are therefore proposing to remove regulation of MTAS for SMS services as we do not think continued regulation is necessary to promote competition," Sims continued.

"However, over-the-top voice services are not yet substitutes for mobile voice calls as they do not offer the same quality or access to services such as Triple Zero. We are therefore proposing to continue declaration of MTAS for voice services."

The current MTAS declaration was created in 2014 and a review is required 18 months prior to the expiration on 30 June 2019.

MTAS is provided through mobile network operators, the network originating the call (whether fixed or mobile) pays the network receiving the call or SMS for the MTAS.

ACCC is invited interested parties to provide a submission to the draft report by 31 May 2019.


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