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Australian and New Zealand Governments to take action on excessive trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges



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Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy Australian Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

The Hon Amy Adams New Zealand Minister for Communications and Information Technology

JOINT MEDIA RELEASE

Australian and New Zealand Governments to take action on excessive trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges

Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and New Zealand Minister for Communications and Information Technology the Hon. Amy Adams MP, today released a draft report that finds telecommunication companies are making excessive profits from trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges.

The joint investigation has provided a number of options for both governments to consider to put downward pressure on mobile prices, and so that Australians and New Zealanders who use their mobile phone when travelling between our countries know what it will cost.

“The draft report makes it clear that telecommunications companies are stinging consumers on trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges and that their profit margins are excessive,” Senator Conroy said.

“New Zealanders have started to enjoy lower roaming prices recently, and the draft report shows that the pressure created by our joint investigation has been a key factor in this reduction,” Minister Adams said.

The draft report provides a number of options to the Australian and New Zealand governments to curb trans-Tasman mobile roaming charges, including:

 Improving pricing transparency  Using legislation to allow roamers to become local end-users, so they are charged local instead of overseas mobile prices  Unbundling roaming services so people can use one network for domestic

communications and a different network for trans-Tasman roaming  Introducing wholesale and retail price caps.

The Australian and New Zealand governments are now seeking submissions on the draft report from consumers, the telecommunications industry, and other stakeholders, which will inform the response adopted.

“While this report focuses on travellers between Australia and New Zealand, we know that high mobile roaming charges affect Australians in every country they visit,” Senator Conroy said.

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“One of the most common complaints that I hear is from people who return from overseas and are confronted by a mobile phone bill that runs into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars. They are angry about the excessive charges and they are angry about not knowing how much they are being charged in the first place.”

“I am, therefore, directing the Australian Communications and Media Authority to put in place an industry standard for mobile roaming so that consumers know exactly how much they will be charged when they make a phone call, send a text message, or surf the internet, wherever they may be overseas.”

It is expected that the standard will be in place within twelve months.

The draft report, which was prepared by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, and New Zealand’s Ministry of Business, Employment and Innovation, is available from DBCDE’s website at: http://www.dbcde.gov.au/ttmr

Submissions are invited on the joint Australia-New Zealand draft report by 27 September 2012.

Date: 23 August 2012 Contact: Adam Sims (Senator Conroy’s Office) 0408 258 457 Nathan Beaumont (Minister Adams’s Office) +64 4 817 9110 or +64 21 243 8412