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Mobile callers the winners from rates call

MEDIA RELEASE
May 1, 2006

Mobile callers the winners from rates call

Consumers calling a mobile phone can expect better deals if the government approves today’s Commerce Commission decision on fixed-to-mobile-termination rates.

Following two years of investigation and debate the Commerce Commission has made the right call for consumers by recommending a reduction in mobile termination rates.

TelstraClear Chief Executive Dr Allan Freeth says accepting the recommendation should be an easy and quick decision for the Minister of Communications.

“The Commission got it right. It was faced with commercial offers from mobile providers and arguments over the exclusion of 3G technology which could have watered down the benefits to consumers,” says Dr Freeth.

“Today’s announcement puts the long-term interests of consumers first without impacting mobile operators’ ability to invest in new technologies and services. Just as importantly it will allow companies like TelstraClear to improve deals for consumers,” says Dr Freeth.

“We’re very keen to make this happen. Once the Minister has accepted it and our existing contracts with mobile operators end, we will be able to submit a determination so the Commerce Commission can set a price.”

Dr Freeth says the Commission was correct not to regulate pass-through, whereby the cost reductions would be set in the prices charged to consumers rather than at the wholesale level.

“TelstraClear will be one of a number of players provided with reduced costs. Whenever we’ve gained access to better prices we’ve produced better deals for our customers. The Commission has left retail service providers such as TelstraClear with the ability to think creatively about how we package and price for calls to mobile networks,” he says.

Dr Freeth hopes the Minister will accept the final recommendation as soon as possible, so that TelstraClear can focus on getting new offers to market.

“Consumers have been waiting for a sensible decision on high prices for two years. Now that we have one it needs to be implemented quickly,” he says.

Dr Freeth says he also hopes mobile operators will accept a decision that puts consumers first, avoiding costly legal challenges that would mean people continue to pay too much for calls to mobile phones.

ENDS

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