Vodafone welcomes the idea of domestic mobile roaming

Alex Kidman 6 September 2016

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Vodafone likes the idea of sharing mobile infrastructure in regional areas, citing the need for increased access for remote mobile users.

Following the ACCC’s announcement of an inquiry into whether or not it should declare domestic mobile roaming, Vodafone has indicated strongly that it would favour such an arrangement.

In a post on Vodafone’s Red Wire blog, Vodafone’s Tim McPhail suggests that "The sharing of network infrastructure by mobile carriers reduces roll-out costs, and in many regional and remote areas this cost saving may be the difference between mobile operators being able to invest in new mobile towers or not."

As such, Vodafone’s on board with the idea mooted by the ACCC that it declare domestic roaming for carriers. McPhail notes that it’s a feature of mobile networks in multiple countries including the US, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa.

McPhail states that Vodafone’s not concerned about the ACCC’s notes around the potential to stifle investment were it to declare such services.

"National roaming is regulated in the other western economies with large land masses and areas of low population density (the USA, Canada and New Zealand). There is no evidence from any of those countries that mandated national roaming has a negative impact on investment. On the contrary, it sees mobile network operators contribute to and subsidise increased investment in regional areas through payments for roaming."

Vodafone has taken a role in the Federal Government’s Mobile Blackspot program as well as expanding its own regional network in recent times but there’s little doubt that in terms of population coverage it sits below that of rivals Telstra and Optus.

Vodafone’s own coverage maps suggest it has 96% coverage to Optus’ claimed 98.5% and Telstra’s 99.3% coverage claims. As such, any declaration of domestic networks is likely to be of the greatest advantage to Vodafone in coverage terms.

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