Vodafone loses review case against ACCC's mobile roaming inquiry

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Vodafone loses review case against ACCC's mobile roaming inquiry

The Federal Court of Australia has dismissed an application by Vodafone to review the ACCC’s conduct and decisions made through its public inquiry into domestic mobile roaming.

In May, the ACCC reached the preliminary view that mobile roaming did not serve the long-term interests of users. Vodafone, which has been pushing for domestic mobile roaming in Australia, applied to the Federal Court seeking to have the regulator's draft decision scrapped and to restrict the ACCC from proceeding with the inquiry.

The ACCC had proceeded with its inquiry while responding to Vodafone’s application for judicial review and in October confirmed its decision not to force network operators to let competitors roam on their regional networks, and instead identified some measures to improve regional mobile coverage.

Telstra welcomed that decision, with chief executive Andrew Penn calling it "the best outcome" for customers in regional Australia. "We welcome the final decision as the right decision for the people, business and communities of regional Australia," Penn said.

Of the Federal Court's dismissal of Vodafone’s application for review, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said: “The inquiry process is, by its very nature, a broad and flexible tool. It enables the ACCC to approach problems with an open mind and provides ample opportunity for all relevant viewpoints to be shared and given a considered hearing.”

“It is important that the ACCC is able to thoroughly consider issues and views during the public inquiry process, especially where the ACCC is deciding whether or not to regulate a service.”

“The decision by the Court in dismissing Vodafone’s judicial review application validates the appropriateness of the ACCC’s approach to conducting public inquiries of this nature.”

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