ACCC Probes High Cost Of Mobile Calls + SMS

Written by Alex Zaharov-Reutt      01/08/2014 | 12:02 | Category: INDUSTRY

The ACCC is seeking submissions on its discussion paper looking at regulating the high costs of mobile call and SMS terminating access service fees.

ACCC Probes High Cost Of Mobile Calls + SMS
Australia's Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) is investigating the high costs telcos can charge each other when mobile calls and SMS messages are sent to each other's networks.

These costs are usually passed onto consumers through higher charges.

Called MTAS or "mobile terminating access service", the ACCC is releasing a discussion paper seeking stakeholder views on "appropriate ways to determine efficient prices for terminating mobile calls and SMS messages."

This is being done as part of the MTAS final access determination (FAD) inquiry, which commenced in May 2014. 

The ACCC regulates this "termination service" to ensure that mobile operators can connect calls and deliver SMS to other networks, and don't "set termination fees at a level above the actual cost of providing this service".

ACCC Commissions Cristina Cifuentes said: "The ACCC recently found that the prices mobile operators were charging each other to receive mobile calls and SMS messages were too high, which meant higher bills for consumers or reduced product offerings. 

"The ACCC is now looking to determine how these services should be priced to promote competition in retail markets and benefit consumers."

"Competition has led to lower prices and greater choice for consumers for voice calls, and the ACCC expects that greater competition will similarly lower SMS prices. The ACCC would like to hear views on appropriate pricing for SMS services in the long term interests of consumers."

The ACCC says it's also setting a new regulated price for mobile voice termination services, which is currently 3.6 cents per minute.

Responses to the discussion paper are open until the 29th of August 2014.