[ACCC] The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission today issued a discussion paper to commence an inquiry into the domestic mobile terminating access service (MTAS) under the new telecommunications access regime.
The MTAS is a technology-neutral wholesale input, used by providers of voice calls from fixed line, mobile and IP networks, in order to complete voice calls to end users directly connected to digital mobile networks.
ACCC pricing principles reduced the rate for the MTAS from 21 cents per minute in 2004 to 9 cents per minute from 1 July 2007. The rate has remained at 9 cents per minute since that time and the current pricing principles expire on 31 December 2011.
The new telecommunications regime requires the ACCC to conduct a public inquiry to establish an access determination setting out the terms and conditions of access to the declared service.
While parties will still be able to negotiate their own terms and conditions, an access determination will establish benchmark terms and conditions for access seekers to fall back on in negotiations.
The ACCC is now seeking comments on the options for regulation of the MTAS under the new regime.
ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said significant changes have taken place in the mobiles industry since the current pricing principles were issued in 2009.
"The changes include the merger of two smallest network operators, increasing mobile voice call volumes, sustained migration to more efficient 3G networks and plans to employ Long Term Evolution networks, continued reductions in network equipment costs and the increased importance of data on mobile networks.
"These changes are likely to significantly impact the regulation of the MTAS," Mr Samuel said.
ACCC issues MTAS pricing discussion paper