Telstra dislikes declared domestic roaming
Telstra stands in opposition to the idea of the ACCC declaring roaming within Australia, saying it's a risky move.
The ACCC signalled earlier this week that it would launch an inquiry as to whether it needed to "declare" domestic roaming on mobile networks. If declared, mobile providers would have to offer access to their networks at fixed prices during the declaration period. The ACCC has examined the issue twice previously, but it’s been more than ten years since it was last mooted.
Vodafone quickly came out in support of the idea, but Telstra’s not a fan of the concept. Writing at Telstra’s Exchange Blog, Telstra’s Tony Warren declares that regulated roaming is "not worth the risk".
Telstra’s particular position relates to an area that the ACCC has highlighted as a reason for concern around the entire idea of mobile network regulation, namely investment in current and future networks. Telstra is rather explicit about this, with Warren noting that:
"Regulating mobile roaming would take away our ability to offer customers a better experience and bigger mobile network than any of our competitors. Regulated roaming would mean there was virtually no reason for any mobile phone company to investment in new coverage or better technology."
As the largest provider in terms of overall population coverage by its own estimates and a fairly clear leader in terms of overall landmass coverage (excluding satellite phones), Telstra’s arguably got the most to lose in this particular inquiry, but Warren’s position is that lack of coverage in regional areas is down to its competitors.
"Where there is lack of choice for regional Australians, it is because our competitors have made the decision not to invest in those areas."