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Chance to Fix Mobile Regulation with Broadband

10 May 2006
Media Statement

Opportunity to Fix Mobile Regulation with Broadband


Econet Wireless New Zealand is urging the Government to fix mobile competition rules simultaneously with broadband. Econet is responding to the Commerce Commission’s announcement it will begin another review of the mobile sector.

“It is nice to have the Government, including the Prime Minister herself, and now the Commerce Commission once again highlight the inadequacies of mobile regulation and the serious impediments to both competition and lower mobile prices,” said Tex Edwards, Chief Project Director for Econet Wireless New Zealand.

“However, the mobile problems have been clearly evident since prior to the introduction of the 2001 Telecommunications Act. Indeed, this will be Econet’s 19th submission on New Zealand’s regulatory framework for mobile.

“With the introduction of legislation to unbundle Telecom there will also be the prime opportunity to finally align New Zealand’s mobile sector with that of the OECD. We know what the problems are and we need them sorted urgently.

“The fact that a company with a brand as strong and pockets as deep as Telstra abandoned its plans for investment in a third network due to the weakness of the competition framework, was very instructive for policy-makers and regulators,” said Edwards.

Nevertheless, Econet has opted to persevere with its plans to enter the market and is now in the early stages of building its network in Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.

“Econet has plenty of confidence in the Telecommunications Commissioner once given the powers to act in the interests of competition as per counterparts throughout the rest of the OECD,” said Edwards.

Commissioner Webb needs the ability to specify prices for the likes of roaming and co-location and needs to have adequate powers to ensure new entrants are not pre-emptively stamped out by incumbents protecting their market share.

Econet is so concerned about the anti-competitive state of the mobile market, it has started a competition to highlight attention on the problem, www.cellphonecomp.co.nz, the first prize being a trip to the European Regulator’s office.

ENDS

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