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ACCC Decision Could See Call And SMS Savings For Consumers

ACCC Decision Could See Call And SMS Savings For ConsumersUpon announcement of the decision today, ACCC commissioner Cristina Cifuentes stated that while the ACCC does not regulate retail SMS or call charges, it expects that savings from the two decisions will be passed on to consumers.

Cifuentes noted that savings may be delivered “by way of lower charges or through improved call and SMS inclusions in retail plans”.

The ACCC has decided that the wholesale price of terminating calls on an Australian mobile network should be lowered from the current rate of 3.6 cents per minute to 1.7 cents per minute, while setting the price mobile network operators charge to receive SMS messages at 0.03 cents per SMS.

“The final regulated rates reflect the costs of terminating calls and SMS messages on Australian networks and is based on benchmarking the costs of these services against those in other countries,” Cifuentes commented.

Cifuentes noted that in Australia the majority of mobile calls and SMS are carried on 3G networks, which she stated “are more efficient than the 2G networks which are used to a larger extent overseas”.

“The mobile networks in Australia also carry a much larger amount of data traffic than overseas networks,” she commented. “These features reduce the cost of terminating calls on Australian networks and have been taken into account in the decision.”

The rollout of voice over 4G technology could also result in cost reductions.

“The ACCC will monitor the planned rollout of voice over 4G technology, which could be as soon as later this year,” Cifuentes stated. “If there is evidence of voice over 4G take-up which affects the costs of terminating calls on Australian networks, the ACCC may review the regulated rates.”

The ACCC has advised that the regulated prices for mobile voice and SMS termination will apply from January 1, 2016 to June 30, 2019.