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Optus Criticises Vodafone For Supporting Domestic Roaming

Regional areas would lose out if the ACCC agrees with Vodafone and declares domestic roaming, according to Optus chairman Paul O’Sullivan.

In an interview with The Australian, the Optus chairman said that domestic roaming, which would let Vodafone ‘piggyback’ off Telstra’s regional network for a fee, could have a significant impact on competition and investment.

“In the short term, you would get better coverage as a customer, but roaming would stop any ­carrier from building more new sites and you will freeze the coverage to what we have today,” Mr O’Sullivan told The Australian.

“It could also potentially slow down the rollout of new technologies, like 5G, into the ­regional areas.”

Optus said domestic roaming would also put its involvement in the government’s Mobile Black Spot Program at risk, similar to Telstra CEO Andrew Penn’s comments last week.

Vodafone has justified its support for domestic roaming by suggesting it would improve the experience of regional customers, with CEO Inaki Berroeta claiming that “all we hear from Telstra is that the way things are now are good, which is not what regional users are saying.”

The ACCC will release its draft decision into domestic roaming by April.

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