Challenger telco group Commpete proposes measures to increase competition

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Challenger telco group Commpete proposes measures to increase competition

A coalition of challenger telcos has released a policy submission to the federal government, outlining measures to increase competition and wrestle away market share from the big three telcos Telstra, Optus and TPG.

The group is seeking that challengers get right of access to mobile networks, that NBN Co leadership be given a KPI target of 30 percent market share for competitor brands, that the NBN be written down, that a "competitive impact statement" be developed to support government and regulator policy, and a commitment to structural separation principles of the NBN.

The coalition, formerly known as the Competitive Carriers Coalition, is composed of Amaysim, Inabox, Macquarie Telecom, MNF Group (MyNetFone), MyRepublic, Southern Phones, TasmaNet and Vocus.

Commpete chair Michelle Lim said it was time for reform in an industry which still saw unhealthy domination by the big 3 communications providers.

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

“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.”

She said all other telcos only occupied between 10 and 12 percent of the market across both fixed and mobile, and that if Australia would keep going down the current path that will not change.

Commpete cited a 2012 JP Morgan report that was released around the time of the NBN's inception, which said that it gave the group a good benchmark of challenger telcos taking 30 percent of market share.

“Without change, the Big-3 will milk their assets, manipulate the timing of the release of new technology and new features to maximise profit and only when there is competitive pressure, favour retail channels and keep the most profitable customers away from wholesale,” Lim said.

“Ultimately, as long as the Big-3 can dictate the terms of wholesale by limiting what is sold, how it is sold and who it is sold to, consumers won’t see the new products, services and options that will drive productivity and better value for money.”

Lim said the proposal wouldn't be “met with the applause of the incumbents” but will directly benefit customers by creating the conditions for sustainable and vibrant competition.

She said both the government and regulators play a vital role in ensuring the right balance is struck between both dominant and non-dominant providers.

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