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Mobile to fixed telecommunications service public inquiry

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Media release 8 October 1998

Mobile to fixed telecommunications service public inquiry The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today announced a public inquiry into whether to 'declare'* mobile-to-fixed services under the telecommunications access regime.

Mr Rod Shogren, the ACCC Commissioner with responsibility for telecommunications matters, said that the inquiry reflected the ACCC's interest in promoting greater competition in mobile services.

The service would enable service providers to provide the long distance transmission component of long distance and international calls made on mobile handsets. Presently, the three mobile carriers determine the routing of long distance calls made on their networks. This contrasts with fixed networks where customers can select an alternative carrier for long distance calls made on their fixed telephones.

*Declaration of a service by the ACCC, if it promotes the long-term interests of end-users, establishes rights of access to the service by any access seeker and requires the access provider to supply the service on request and on terms which ultimately can be arbitrated by the ACCC.

Several industry players argue that declaration will lead to significant cost savings to mobile subscribers in Australia by encouraging competition in the long distance and international call component of the mobile telephony market. Others argue that there is already a healthy market for the reselling of mobile services which service providers compete in. In addition, declaration may

discourage new entrants and the existing carriers from rolling out infrastructure.

"The ACCC has already heard a number of arguments on the relative merits of declaring such services. It is now time for a public inquiry to air all views," he said.

The ACCC is preparing a discussion paper on mobile to fixed services which will outline the particular service being examined, the key issues and the process and time-frames for the inquiry, including submissions.

"Discussion papers should be issued by November and consideration completed in the New Year," Mr Shogren said.

For further information about this media release: Mr Rod Shogren, Commissioner, (02) 6243 1115 Ms Lin Enright, Director, Public Relations, (02) 6243 1108

MR 183/98 15/10/1998