I’ve just received the below content in Charlie Brown’s weekly Life & Technology newsletter.
I’d be interested to know if anyone disagrees with his analysis of the ACCC decision and can explain why? All I heard was the ACCC said it could reduce competition.
"ACCC Says No To TPG/Telstra Regional Tie Up
The ACCC has been deciding whether Telstra and TPG (Vodafone) should be allowed to have a mobile network sharing arrangement in regional Australia.
It would mean, you take ALL the Telstra and Vodafone towers in regional Aus, remove the ones where there is duplicate coverage (two towers in one location) and let customers that subscribe to both companies use this new network. Its a bit more complicated than that, but you get the gist of the suggestion.
The benefit? Better regional coverage in the bush. Even better than the current Telstra network now. But there is more benefits here. Some of the cheapest phone plans are available by sim card resellers of the Vodafone network (think Kogan mobile and tpg telecom). These services give customers access to the Vodafone network at the lowest cost. The problem is that while Vodafone regional coverage is rubbish (we just drove from Sunshine Coast to Sydney – its pretty bad between Byron and Grafton, then bad again Coffs to one hour north of Newcastle) so customers in regional Australia don’t buy them because the service is not as good as the Telstra network (that costs more to access).
So customers in the bush pay more as they stay with Telstra.
Now its no secret that since the merger of Vodafone and TPG, the new company needs to earn a profit (in short, it’s basically not – at least not from selling mobile sim plans!!!) and the new company decided to form a network sharing agreement with Telstra for regional Australia. It meant less Vodafone customers (and their resellers) could access the Telstra network in the bush (which is the best one) on their Voda network accessing sim.
It would also have meant that a customer (like me) who has Vodafone and enjoys their $5 a day international roaming would have also had the benefit of accessing Australia’s best regional network, but at the lower price that Vodafone is offering today.
BUT ACCC says ‘NO’. So customers in the bush need to keep using Telstra – Optus gets the biggest Christmas present since a hacker decided to only release 10k stolen data records and we all get to hear about it a week before Christmas when we are not really thinking about stupid decisions made by Government departments.
One might suggest that as soon as Vodafone gets access to a better regional mobile network they could pump up their prices. Maybe. Maybe. But there is still Optus out there offering good plans and if Vodafone bump up their rates it would be ‘see ya’ to an alternate provider.
Also, satellite is just around the corner. The idea your phone will be able to talk to a satellite provider in the next few years. So, would it not be a good idea to sure up the first part of the mobile network that will be less commercially viable once customers from the city can begin regional roaming on satellite? It appears not.
Its nuts and I don’t get it."