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Vodafone Wants A “Cheap Ride” To Regional Coverage, Claims Telstra

Vodafone Wants A “Cheap Ride” To Regional Coverage, Claims Telstra

Vodafone is looking for a “cheap ride” to improving regional network coverage, according to Telstra chairman John Mullen.

Mr Mullen criticised Vodafone’s support of changes to domestic mobile roaming services that could allow the company to use the Telstra network.

“One of our competitors is seeking regulation to close this competitive gap by cheaply riding on our network to avoid spending their own money,” Mr Mullen said at the Telstra annual general meeting.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission launched an inquiry into the issue in September, and is seeking feedback on whether other telcos should be allowed to utilise the Telstra network to expand their coverage in regional and rural areas. Farmers and regional groups have expressed their support for the changes.

Telstra strongly opposes any reform, and is encouraging investors to contact the ACCC with their concerns. The telco has invested $4 billion into fixed and mobile networks, and claims coverage will reach 99 per cent of the population by mid-2017.

“We are hopeful, for the benefit of all Australians, that this foreign company’s regulatory campaign will not succeed,” said Mr Mullen.

Optus, Australia’s second largest telco, has indicated it does not support potential reform.

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