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Quick decisions urged on mobile termination rates

Fuseworks Media
Fuseworks Media
Steven Joyce
Steven Joyce

Wellington, April 28 NZPA - The Commerce Commission and Communications Minister Steven Joyce are being urged to move swiftly on making decisions about regulating mobile termination access services.

Mr Joyce has asked the commission to revisit its split decision on mobile termination, in which two commissioners recommended acceptance of Vodafone and Telecom's voluntary cuts to the rate, and one argued for regulation.

Mobile termination rates are charged by one mobile operator to connect with another network.

The call to have another look at the mobile termination decision follows a recently devised call plan by Vodafone which compromises moves to try and make calling between opposing providers cheaper.

Labour Party communications and IT spokeswoman Clare Curran said today there were concerns that "game playing" by telcos in the marketplace might result in further delays in making a decision.

The Commerce Commission said its decision would take less than two months.

Ms Curran said Labour supported the regulation of termination rates, which was appropriate considering the latest industry development, in which Vodafone appeared to undercut its own undertakings.

"This is not a sign of a healthy marketplace and Mr Joyce should see through it and act," Ms Curran said. "It would be beneficial to customers that the minister took decisive action once the recommendation is received."

Drop the Rate, Mate! campaign spokeswoman Sue Chetwin said Mr Joyce had clearly taken into account the recent developments in both the domestic and international mobile markets -- British regulator Ofcom has recently recommended that rates in Britain be regulated.

"It's clear that competition will not be promoted without regulation, and it's good to see the minister asking for a reconsideration due to recent events," Ms Chetwin said.

She said it was important the commission now made a quick response to the minister.

"The Telecommunications Act was amended in 2006 to remove lengthy delays in decision making, and mobile termination rates are the first true test of the new legislative regime," Ms Chetwin said.

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