Domestic mobile roaming declaration inquiry

Closed 16 Jun 2017

Opened 5 May 2017


On 2 June 2017, Vodafone Hutchison Australia made an application to the Federal Court of Australia under the Administrative Decisions (Judicial Review) Act 1977, seeking review of the ACCC’s conduct in holding a public inquiry under the Telecommunications Act 1997.

The matter is listed for a first case management hearing on 30 June 2017. In the meantime, the ACCC is making no changes to the current inquiry process, including submission deadlines.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is currently conducting a public inquiry into whether to declare a domestic mobile roaming service. A domestic mobile roaming service would allow mobile network operators to provide mobile services in areas where they do not have their own network by accessing the network of another mobile network operator.

On 5 May 2017, the ACCC released a draft decision proposing not to declare a domestic mobile roaming service. In reaching this draft decision, the ACCC found that:

  • There is reasonably effective competition in the national mobile services market. Service providers compete on a broad range of product features such as price, geographic coverage, service quality, network technology, inclusions and content. The difference in geographic coverage is contributing to competition.
  • In some regional, rural and remote areas of Australia, choice of mobile service provider is not available or is more limited. However, these consumers still benefit to some extent from competition outside of these areas due to national uniform pricing.
  • There is insufficient evidence that, given the current state of competition, declaration of a mobile roaming service is likely to promote overall competition to a significant extent.
  • There is evidence that mobile network operators are continuing to make efficient investments to compete on regional coverage. Declaration of a mobile roaming service in these circumstances may distort efficient investment incentives.

For these reasons, the ACCC’s preliminary view is that declaration of a domestic mobile roaming service is unlikely to promote the long-term interests of consumers and therefore proposes in the draft decision not to declare such a service.

The ACCC invites submissions from interested parties in response to the draft decision. We have also identified some regulatory and policy measures that could improve competition and network coverage and quality in regional, rural and remote areas. We are seeking views from interested parties on these measures.

How to make a submission

Submissions can be uploaded onto the ACCC’s Consultation Hub or by email to Submissions are due by 16 June 2017.

The ACCC prefers to receive submissions in electronic form, either in PDF or Microsoft Word format, which allows the submission to be text searched.

To foster an informed and consultative process, all submissions will be considered as public submissions and will be posted on the ACCC’s website. If interested parties wish to submit commercial-in-confidence material, they should submit both a public version and commercial-in-confidence version of their submission. Any commercial-in-confidence material should be clearly identified, and the public version of the submissions should identify where commercial-in-confidence material has been removed.

The ACCC published a guideline setting out the process parties should follow when submitting confidential information to communications inquiries by the ACCC. The ACCC/AER Information Policy June 2014 sets out the general policy of the ACCC and the Australian Energy Regulator (AER) on the collection, use and disclosure of information.


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