ACCC calls for views on mobile voice and SMS wholesale costs

4 Aug 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has published a discussion paper on pricing the declared mobile terminating access service (MTAS), with this consultation forming part of the MTAS final access determination (FAD) inquiry which got underway in May 2014. In this inquiry the regulator confirmed it would continue regulating terminating services for mobile voice calls until 2019, while also revealing it would begin regulating terminating SMS services for the first time.

In this latest discussion paper the ACC is seeking stakeholders’ views on appropriate ways to determine efficient prices for both terminating mobile calls and SMS messages. Further, it has also proposed setting a new regulated price for mobile voice termination services, which is currently AUD0.036 (USD0.033) per minute. Submissions from interested parties must be submitted before the deadline of 29 August 2014.

ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said of the proposals: ‘The ACCC recently found that the prices mobile operators were charging each other to receive mobile calls and SMS messages were too high, which meant higher bills for consumers or reduced product offerings … The ACCC is now looking to determine how these services should be priced to promote competition in retail markets and benefit consumers … Competition has led to lower prices and greater choice for consumers for voice calls, and the ACCC expects that greater competition will similarly lower SMS prices. The ACCC would like to hear views on appropriate pricing for SMS services in the long term interests of consumers.’