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ACCC Delays Final Report On Domestic Roaming

The ACCC is expected to release its final report on domestic mobile roaming next month, more than five months after releasing its draft decision.

In May, the competition watchdog said it would not declare mobile roaming in a draft decision. If mobile roaming was declared, telcos like Vodafone would be able access Telstra’s network in regional areas for a fixed fee.

“The ACCC has insufficient evidence that declaration will improve the current state of competition overall,” ACCC chairman Rod Sims said.

Sims also said that a final decision was due “in mid-2017”.

Since then, however, Vodafone launched legal action against the ACCC for what it called a “flawed” inquiry process into mobile roaming.

“The domestic mobile roaming inquiry is an opportunity to do better for regional Australia, but if domestic roaming is not declared, consumers will be denied the benefits of increased coverage, competition and choice,” Vodafone argued.

The telco also suggested that rural customers would save $658 million a year if roaming was declared.

The Australian reported that Vodafone’s legal challenge is set to be heard on September 27 and 28.

Both Telstra and Optus had supported the ACCC’s draft decision.

Telstra CEO Andrew Penn said in May that the telco was “one step closer to being able to get on with this exciting work that will have positive impacts on people who live, work and visit regional areas”.

Optus CEO Allen Lew said that the ACCC’s decision “will provide Optus with the certainty it needs to invest a further $1.5 billion in 2017/18 to deepen network capacity and coverage, and continue delivering high quality services, choice and competition, particularly in regional Australia”.

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