The New Zealand government has confirmed that it will take steps to regulate mobile termination rates (MTRs) within the country’s wireless market. ICT minister Steven Joyce has accepted a Commerce Commission recommendation on the regulation of MTRs, and will add the subject to schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act. The Commerce Commission will then begin a process to set prices and other terms which mobile carriers must offer. Mr Joyce said that the process is likely to take ‘a few months’.
The issue of MTRs has been a bone of contention in New Zealand for many years, and in 2005 the Commerce Commission first announced plans to regulate prices after finding that mobile network operators were overcharging by as much as 80%. Then Minister of Economic Development, Trevor Mallard, rejected the resultant proposals however, and the issue has dragged on ever since. The most recent Commerce Commission report into MTRs was completed in May 2010.