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Drop the Rate Campaign Welcomes Minister's Request

Drop the Rate Campaign Welcomes Minister's Request

Drop the Rate, Mate! has praised Communications and IT Minister Steven Joyce's request that the Commerce Commission reconsider its recommendation on the regulation of mobile termination rates.

The campaign was formed to promote the interests of Kiwi consumers in getting better value in the mobile market, through lower mobile termination rates.

Earlier this year, the Commerce Commission recommended to the Minister that he accept voluntary undertakings from Vodafone and Telecom to lower rates gradually over a four-year period.

Since then, the United Kingdom regulator, Ofcom, has recommended that rates in the UK be regulated. In New Zealand, Vodafone has announced a new call plan which widens the price difference between off-net calls (calls between networks) and on-net calls (calls on the same network) - a major barrier to competition.

Spokesperson for the campaign, Sue Chetwin says that the Minister has clearly taken into account the recent developments in both the domestic and international mobile markets.

"It's clear that competition will not be promoted without regulation, and it's good to see the Minister asking for a reconsideration due to recent events."

The campaign says it is now important for the Commerce Commission to quickly respond to the Minister. "The Telecommunications Act was amended in 2006 to remove lengthy delays in decision making, and MTRs are the first true test of the new legislative regime. Kiwis have been waiting for competition for too long - it is time for the Commission to support regulation, and to do so with haste."

Drop the Rate, Mate! has more than 12,000 supporters through its website www.droptherate.org.nz. It was founded in August 2009 by Airnet NZ Ltd, Consumer NZ, Federated Farmers, the Federation of Maori Authorities, the New Zealand Union of Students Associations, the Telecommunications Users Association of New Zealand, 2degrees and the Unite union.

ENDS

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