New Zealand’s competition regulator opted to leave existing regulations covering domestic mobile roaming in place following a consultation weighing the impact of removing them.

The Commerce Commission stated it will continue to be able to regulate mobile roaming in the country. Local laws require it to review its position and consider deregulation every five years.

It said roaming “remains an important regulatory backstop for promoting competition in mobile telecommunications markets”.

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said the regulator does not yet “consider the telecommunications market has developed to such an extent that roaming regulation is no longer necessary to safeguard new entry and promote competitive outcomes in the market”.

“Coverage is a critical feature of being able to offer competitive mobile services at the retail level”, he continued, adding national roaming is foundational to “commercial negotiations for wholesale access”.

He argued national roaming “has been critical to the development” of New Zealand’s mobile market “and to enabling 2degrees, in particular, to provide services across the country” as it constructed its own network.