Australian incumbent Telstra expects the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to come to a decision next week on the price it can charge for local loop unbundling (LLU), the telco’s chief financial officer John Stanhope told Australian Associated Press (AAP). Telstra has been engaged in numerous disputes with regulators over its wholesale access prices, dating back to 1999. The ACCC’s final report on the matter is in the hands of Communications Minister Helen Coonan, who will decide whether or not to intervene on the decision. Mr Stanhope told AAP that he expects a decision to be made ‘next week’.
Meanwhile, Australian Prime Minister John Howard has said that the long-awaited AUD23.8 billion privatisation of Telstra could be delayed if its share price was deemed too low, in his strongest indication yet that the sale may not proceed this year as planned. ‘We’re not in the business of selling at any cost… just for the sake of getting it off our books,’ he said in a radio interview in Perth, quoted by the Financial Times. ‘That would not be sensible.’