The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) opened a public inquiry to decide whether to continue regulating domestic mobile terminating access service (MTAS).
MTAS is a wholesale service which mobile network operators offer each other so voice calls and SMS originated on different networks can be connected. The originating network recovers the costs of the MTAS in the retail price it charges its customers for providing the call.
The commission is required to review the MTAS declaration in the 18 months before it expires on 30 June 2019.
ACCC noted in a statement the mobile industry has changed significantly since 2014 when the current declaration was made.
Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes (pictured) said: “Increasingly, consumers are choosing over-the-top services to make calls and send messages. These fall outside the MTAS service description and we are interested in knowing whether the ability of consumers to choose these ways of communicating means that declaration of the MTAS is no longer necessary.”
Given the pace of technological change in mobile networks, she said the ACCC will seek to determine whether the service description remains fit-for-purpose and accurate.
“We also intend to test what effect the declaration of SMS services in 2014 has had on relevant markets, in particular its impact on consumers. Regulation of wholesale mobile termination has, in the past, helped to lower retail prices for mobile services for the benefit of consumers. This inquiry will consider whether continued regulation is needed to deliver this result,” she added.
Submissions are invited by 14 September. A draft decision is expected to be issued for public consultation before a final decision is announced.