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Two Commerce Commission Members Do an About-Face

DROP THE RATE, MATE!
(Airnet NZ Ltd, Consumer New Zealand, Federated Farmers, the Federation of Maori Authorities, the New Zealand Union of Students Associations, the Telecommunications Users Association, 2degrees and Unite)

MEDIA RELEASE
22 February 2010
For immediate release

Two Commerce Commission Members Do an About-Face

Two members of the Commerce Commission have done an about-face, after repeated voluntary undertakings from the big telcos - while another, Anita Mazzoleni, has sided with consumers, the Drop the Rate, Mate! campaign said today.

The campaign was commenting on a split 2-1 decision by the Commerce Commission to accept slow "voluntary" reductions in mobile termination rates (MTRs) over the next four years - but even then not to a level which will stimulate true competition and give consumers lower prices in the mobile phone market.

Drop the Rate, Mate! spokesman Matthew Hooton said that the campaign would now focus on encouraging Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce to accept Ms Mazzoleni's view rather than those of her counterparts.

"The only outcome acceptable to our campaign is the implementation of prices which reflect the cost of connecting a call to a different network rather than being set a level designed solely to prevent proper competition," Mr Hooton said.

"Almost all other countries' competition authorities understand that high MTRs have no justification and are simply barriers to competition, and we will be working to ensure Mr Joyce accepts that point too."

Drop the Rate, Mate! currently has more than 11,000 supporters through its website at www.droptherate.org.nz It was founded in August 2009 by Airnet NZ Ltd, Consumer New Zealand, Federated Farmers, the Federation of Maori Authorities, the New Zealand Union of Students Associations, the Telecommunications Users Association, 2degrees and the Unite union.

Drop the Rate, Mate! was formed to demand lower mobile termination rates in line with the costs of connecting calls and texts.

ENDS

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