ACA probes fixed cellular terminals

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The Australian Communications Authority is looking into use of a device that allows people to make cheaper calls from a fixed phone to a mobile phone.

The Australian Communications Authority (ACA) is looking into use of a device that allows people to make cheaper calls from a fixed phone to a mobile phone.

Dr Bob Horton, acting chairman at the ACA, said fixed cellular terminals were currently being used by private end-users, and as an alternative to the traditional interconnection arrangements.

A discussion paper has been released by the telco regulator examining use of the devices.

It looked at how fixed cellular terminals were being used, and the problems using them may cause for mobile network operators and law enforcement agencies, according to a statement from the ACA.

The regulator said it was seeking feedback about how these problems could be resolved. It was also looking at whether a regulatory solution would be necessary.

According to the ACA, a fixed cellular terminal was also known as a GSM gateway. "It carries one or more SIM cards and enables fixed-to-mobile calls or mobile-to-mobile calls to be delivered onto a mobile network," it stated. "Using the device makes fixed-to-mobile calls appear as though they have originated from a mobile phone. They are then charged at considerably cheaper mobile-to-mobile call rates."

In developing the paper the ACA consulted Optus, the Australian Competition, and Consumer Commission and law enforcement agencies. It also included information about how fixed cellular terminals were regulated in some other countries.

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