Small telcos seek greater competition

Paul Osborne
(Australian Associated Press)

 

Australian households and small businesses are paying too much for mobile and fixed internet services due to three big players dominating the market – and it’s time for a shake-up.

That’s the view of Commpete, which represents the smaller players in the telecommunications market seeking to take on Telstra, Optus and TPG.

Commpete chair Michelle Lim will tell an industry forum in Melbourne on Wednesday federal government policies have failed to improve competition in the market, which is leading to poor outcomes for customers.

“By global standards, Australian households and small businesses pay too much for mobile and fixed internet services and are being starved of the latest products and services already available overseas,” Ms Lim will tell the CommsDay congress.

“The NBN was supposed to make us number one in the world for internet services but instead we spent $50 billion and slipped further and further behind on competition and all the benefits it brings.”

Smaller players have only 10 to 12 per cent of the Australian fixed and mobile market but recent studies have suggested the market would be healthier if this rose to 30 per cent.

The roadmap to better competition, Ms Lim suggests, should include:

* Right of access to mobile networks for the smaller challengers

* NBN CEO being personally required to achieve a target of 30 per cent competition

* A writedown of NBN to allow a price reset

* Competitive impact statements when proposing new market measures

* A commitment to structural separation principles of NBN.

“Our proposal won’t be met with the applause of the incumbents but change rarely is. It will however directly benefit consumers by creating the conditions for sustainable, vibrant competition,” Ms Lim said.

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