Media Releases

Proposal to retain power to regulate national mobile roaming

9 July 2018

The Commerce Commission has released its preliminary view to retain the power to regulate national mobile roaming, should it be required in the future.

Mobile roaming allows customers of one mobile network to use another network when they are outside their own provider’s coverage area.

The Commission has the power to require the country’s three mobile network operators: Spark, Vodafone, and 2Degrees to provide wholesale access to their networks for a period of time to any new network operator. This regulation would enable a new operator to quickly expand its coverage beyond its own initial physical network.

“National mobile roaming helped 2Degrees deliver a nationwide service for its customers from day one, in advance of rolling out its own national network infrastructure. We believe the power to regulate remains an important competition safeguard, especially with 5G networks and potential new entrants on the horizon,” Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.

Under the Telecommunications Act, the Commission is required once every 5 years to consider the deregulation of certain services, including national mobile roaming.

We invite submissions on our preliminary view by 5pm on 30 July 2018. Submissions can be emailed to regulation.branch@comcom.govt.nz.

We expect to release our final decision on 4 September 2018.

Our preliminary views paper can be found here.

Background

Network operators are only required to make their networks available to access seekers who meet certain conditions, including having a network of at least 100 cell sites or having a network that covers at least 10% of the New Zealand population. National roaming regulation does not regulate wholesale access for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).