ACCC chastens churlish Telstra

ACCC chastens churlish Telstra

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has settled its case against Telstra for anti-competitive conduct.

Settlement of the case, relating to Telstra's customer transfer (churn) process, means competitors will pay significantly less money when they win customers from the telco. Instead of paying up to $30 per churn, competitors will only have to pay $13.50 per line.

Brian Perkins, AAPT's director of Regulatory & Legal, said AAPT believed that the charges agreed to in the settlement still did not reflect the real costs incurred in implementing churns.

"Telstra's churn process is still cumbersome, slow and inefficient. If Telstra automated the process, as recommended by the ACCC last year, it could reduce churn charges significantly," Perkins said. "We (APPT) find it outrageous that Telstra will still be able to charge its competitors $13.50 per line for winning customers from them."

He said that the ACCC played a critical role in improving the competitive environment and AAPT was keen to exploit the more reasonable playing field. AAPT also welcomed the news that Telstra had agreed to pay $4.5 million into a fund for the benefit of the service providers using churn.

"This outcome illustrates the importance of having a strong regulator with effective powers to protect competition in the Australian telecommunications industry. Without the intervention of the ACCC, competitors would still be paying Telstra $30 per churn and this would have delayed the development of competition even longer," Perkins said.

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