Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Roaming - Australia inquiry and report

Report highlights international mobile roaming concerns
see also roaming report

International mobile roaming charges have the potential to confuse consumers and result in expensive phone bills, the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, said today.

"International roaming charges are the subject of complaints where prices are high, making it very expensive to make mobile phone calls while overseas. This issue deserves attention particularly as mobile data services grow and businesses come to rely even more on cross-border access", Senator Conroy said.

Senator Conroy said a KPMG report, commissioned by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, highlighted concerns about excessive international mobile roaming charges.

"The report highlights the differences between prices paid by Australian consumers and consumers in other countries when roaming overseas to a range of popular business and tourist destinations", Senator Conroy said.

The report also found that Australians using mobile roaming overseas pay more on average than consumers from countries in Asia and North American using roaming in Australia. The reverse was true for Europeans except that the roaming rates between Australia and Europe are higher than elsewhere on average.

The key issues identified in the report are:

* Consumers and regulators believe that the price of international mobile roaming is excessive.
* Numerous technical studies have concluded that mobile roaming retail margins are very high.
* There is a lack of clarity about mobile roaming plans and prices.
* There are limited market incentives for roaming prices to decrease.

A copy of the report will be provided to the House of Representatives Parliamentary Inquiry on International Mobile Roaming: www.aph.gov.au/house/committee/coms/mobileroaming

"I would encourage anyone with an interest in this issue to read the report and make a submission to the inquiry", Senator Conroy said.

No comments: