Price of national mobile roaming to remain unregulated
15 December 2010
The Commerce Commission today announced that it will not investigate whether the national mobile roaming service should be extended to include price because there are adequate commercial arrangements in place.
"The Commission's remaining concern in relation to national roaming was whether the levels of commercial rates available to Two Degrees Mobile Limited were a barrier to expansion. The Commission deferred its investigation into national mobile roaming last year to allow the investigation into mobile termination access services (MTAS) to be completed. This also provided Vodafone and Two Degrees an opportunity to reach a commercial solution which could remove the need for regulatory intervention," said Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Ross Patterson.
"Two Degrees have now advised the Commission that they have concluded alternative arrangements with Vodafone that enable Two Degrees to carry out its business on a more equitable basis. As a result of this new arrangement, Two Degrees believes that it is not currently appropriate for the Commission to launch an investigation into whether national roaming should be a designated service," said Dr Patterson.
"Regulatory intervention should not be undertaken lightly. In this case, the commercial arrangements which the parties have reached means that there are no longer grounds for the Commission to investigate whether to extend roaming regulation to include price," said Dr Patterson.
A regulated service under Schedule 1 of the Telecommunications Act can be either a designated service, where the terms and conditions including price of the service can be set by the Commission, or a specified service, where the Commission can set non-price terms and conditions only.
National roaming is currently a specified service that allows subscribers of one mobile network (home network) to use their mobile telephone handset on a different mobile network (visited network) to make and receive calls. It allows a new entrant to offer nationwide services while it builds its own network. National roaming is currently a specified service.
The national roaming service in the Act does not provide regulation of international mobile roaming.
Schedule 3 of the Telecommunications Act. Under Schedule 3, the Commission can commence an investigation into whether the list of regulated telecommunications services contained in Schedule 1 of the Act should be amended by adding a new service, omitting a service, or amending the terms of an existing service, including whether a specified telecommunications service should become a designated telecommunications service (ie, become a service where the terms and conditions including price can be set by the Commission). The Commission then makes a recommendation based on its investigation to the Minister for Communications and Information Technology.
More information on mobile roaming regulation can be accessed on the Commission's website at www.comcom.govt.nz/mobile-roaming-and-co-location-investigation