ACCC calls on Telstra in bundling

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Telstra will be asked to provide detailed information to the ACCC on its rewards packages and products, the competition watchdog revealed today.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has issued a final version of its information paper on the bundling of telecommunications services, looking on a 'case by case' basis at bundling conduct.

Bundling involves companies offering the supply of two or more services, such as fixed line, mobile access, pay television and Internet services into one discounted package. While bundling can offer consumers low prices and convenience of having all services supplied on the one bill, ACCC commissioner for telecommunications, Ed Willett, warned it could be detrimental to competition.

'The bundling of services can be anti-competitive where it enables the extension of market power from one market to another, or where it is priced in a manner that is predatory or squeezes out competitors,' Willett said in a statement.

The competition watchdog originally launched a draft of the information paper in January, which set out the proposed approach the ACCC was to follow when assessing whether bundling conduct in the telecommunications industry is anti-competitive. The ACCC has received 12 public submissions in response to the draft.

Willett said the ACCC wanted to assess bundling on a case-by-case basis, taking into account competition in the relevant markets and the price and non-price terms and conditions for the bundle.

'Generally, the submissions broadly supported the ACCC's proposed approach to assessing potentially anti-competitive bundling behaviour in telecommunications markets,' he said.

Since the draft information paper was launched, the ACCC has issued Telstra record-keeping rules, one of which requires the telco to provide detailed information to the ACCC on its Rewards packages and HomeLine products.

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