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Toll-freecalls regulation will not be investigated

Telecommunications Act: Commission will not investigate the regulation of mobile origination for toll-free calls

The Commerce Commission has decided not to investigate the regulation of mobile origination services under the Telecommunications Act.

Commission Network Access Manager Osmond Borthwick said that the Commission had been asked by TelstraClear Limited to widen its current mobile termination investigation to include voice call origination rates charged by mobile operators, because of their impact on services supplied to toll-free number operators.

The Commission considered the following factors in making its decision: the retail toll-free services market is competitive; firms with toll-free numbers can choose to block calls from mobile networks and only accept landline calls to avoid the high cost of toll-free calls from mobile phones; a person ringing a toll-free number from their mobile phone may in many cases be able to make the call from a fixed line if the mobile call is blocked; any benefits to the toll-free market from regulating mobile origination are unlikely to be significant after the costs of regulation are taken into account.

Mr Borthwick said that the Commission was not satisfied there were reasonable grounds for an investigation

“Although the Commission has decided not to investigate regulating mobile origination at this time, it will continue to monitor competitive conditions in the relevant markets,” Mr Borthwick said.

Background Mobile origination is the portion of an outward call made from a mobile phone that takes the call from the mobile phone to the point where it can interconnect with other networks. Mobile origination has to be purchased by a fixed network operator in order to supply toll-free calls to mobile phones (such as a call by a mobile phone user to an 0800 number). For other mobile call types, mobile origination is part of the retail service purchased by the calling party from the mobile network operator.

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