Optus has taken Telstra to the Federal Court in order to fight the telco’s December hike in wholesale line rental increases.
The Singtel-owned company is suing Telstra for alleged breaches of Section 46 and Part XIB of the Trade Practices Act.
According to Optus, these sections relate to the use of market power to lessen competition, eliminate or substantially damage a competitor, or deter a competitor from engaging in competitive conduct.
Optus is seeking damages which will include the excess amounts it has been forced to pay to Telstra to date and an order that Telstra reverse the price increase in the future.
In a statement on the move, Optus director corporate and regulatory affairs, Paul Fletcher, claimed Telstra’s decision had eroded the principle that competitors could combine their own long distance services with resold Telstra line rental.
Fletcher said Telstra had increased its wholesale line rental prices from $26.95 to $30.36, yet the monthly line rental under Telstra's HomeLine Complete package remained at $26.95.
“This produces the absurd result that Optus is forced to pay Telstra a wholesale price which is $3.41 more than the price at which Telstra sells the very same product in the retail market,” he said.
“This is blatantly anti-competitive. Telstra is trying to use its market power to drive its resale competitors out of the marketplace.”
Backing up its legal action, Optus pointed to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) April 12 Competition Notice against Telstra arguing that its line rental price increase was anti-competitive.
“As the champion of competition, Optus is going to stand up to Telstra's bullying - and show its new management team the meaning of the phrase, ‘a fair go’,” Fletcher said.
Last week Telstra said in a statement that the increase in line rental prices was "reasonable" and was necessary to help maintain the country's national copper access network.
Optus to 'fair go' Telstra in court
By Staff Writers on Apr 19, 2006 10:07AM