Watchdog To Probe Telstra Delays To Wholesale 4G
Rivals are up in arms, as Telstra appears to be using its dominance of the sector to stall the release of a wholesale version of its high-speed 4G services and stymie efforts by competitors to gain a foothold in regional areas and corporate markets.
Telstra’s 4G mobile services have helped boost its subscriber numbers to more than 16.5 million.
However the consumer watchdog has been on a fact-finding mission since September to decide whether Telstra’s conduct is anti-competitive and warrants a probe, reports The Australian. The preliminary investigation comes after frustrated telcos eager to resell Telstra’s 4G services sent complaints to the regulator.
Telstra is believed to have privately promised that it would open its 4G network to wholesale customers at the start of this year. But in March the telco reneged and instead made a public vow to wholesale the service no later than June 2016.
The ACCC has requested information from Telstra wholesale customers, including Macquarie Telecom, to detail concerns about the telco’s sluggishness in wholesaling the service as well as information about geographic coverage restrictions imposed by Telstra.
MacTel said Telstra’s refusal to open up wholesale access has reduced consumer choice and lessened competitive differentiation in the retail market, forcing some business customers to defect to Telstra.
“It’s time for a Telstra wholesale management clean-out – their stance on providing 4G to wholesale customers affirms the fact that they are fundamentally unwilling sellers,” said Macquarie Telecom’s industry and policy chief Matt Healy