Telco competition increasing, ACCC says

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Telco competition increasing, ACCC says

The telecommunications industry continued to progress toward a more competitive environment in 2004-05, the competition regulator has said.

The telecommunications industry continued to progress toward a more competitive environment in 2004-05, the competition regulator has said.

However, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) in its annual report into the state of competition in the telecommunications market, found that threats still exist to competition.

Commenting on the report ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said changes observed in the industry over the past year signalled that the industry is on the verge of making significant advancements in service delivery.

"However, in spite of the positive developments observed, the ACCC remains concerned that various threats to existing and future competition exist,” he said in a statement.

On a positive note, the report notes that there was substantial growth in broadband take-up during the period. More than 100 per cent annual volume growth was observed in four consecutive quarters of the 2004-05 year.

"A number of companies have indicated that the increasing take-up of broadband services is helping to justify a transition from heavy reliance on Telstra's wholesale Digital Subscriber Line (DSL) services to their own DSL infrastructure for the provision of services," Samuel said.

The development of technologies including satellite broadband, various forms of wireless and mobile broadband which allow competitors to bypass the existing fixed access network also promised to increase competition the report found.

During the 2004-05 financial year the average price paid by consumers for telecommunications services fell in real terms by 6.6 per cent due to a fall of 1.2 per cent in prices paid for PSTN services and a decrease of 13 per cent in prices paid for mobile telephony services.

The average prices paid by residential and business fixed-line customers decreased by 0.3 per cent and 2.9 per cent respectively.

In mobile market the average prices paid by consumers for mobile services fell by 13 per cent in 2004–05. Prices for GSM services fell by 12.9 per cent and prices for CDMA services declined by 13.8 per cent.

"These results suggest that carriers continue to compete vigorously in the mobile segment, as you would expect where there are multiple competing infrastructure networks", Samuel said.
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