ACCC to continue regulating MTAS for voice, but not for SMS

2 May 2019

Australia’s domestic Mobile Terminating Access Service (MTAS) for voice services will be regulated for a further five years, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has proposed. Publishing a draft report released for consultation today (2 May), the regulator noted that it has also proposed that regulation of the MTAS for SMS services will not continue, due to what it sees as increased competition from messaging services such as iMessage and WhatsApp.

In August 2018 – four years after the ACCC began MTAS regulation – the watchdog launched a public inquiry examining whether the current regulation of voice and SMS MTAS should be revoked, extended or varied after it expires on 30 June 2019. Now, with the release of its proposals interested parties have been given until 31 May to submit feedback, and the regulator has said it will take any submissions into account in preparing its final access determination (FAD).

Commenting, ACCC Chair Rod Sims said: ‘Our decision to regulate SMS appears to have had the desired effect. We are therefore proposing to remove regulation of MTAS for SMS services as we do not think continued regulation is necessary to promote competition … However, over-the-top voice services are not yet substitutes for mobile voice calls as they do not offer the same quality or access to services such as Triple Zero … We are therefore proposing to continue declaration of MTAS for voice services.’