Most Australians in regional areas support domestic roaming: survey

Research gives voice back to consumers

New research indicates the majority of Australians living in regional and rural Australia would support the introduction of regulated domestic roaming.

An Empirica Research survey of more than one thousand people living in regional and remote areas found 65 per cent of respondents support or strongly support mobile domestic roaming.

Vodafone’s Chief Strategy Officer Dan Lloyd said the survey results suggest consumers in regional areas recognise the enormous benefits domestic roaming would deliver.

“Australians in regional areas have spoken, and they have thrown their support behind domestic roaming,” Mr Lloyd said.

“One of the most significant findings is that most Australians in regional and remote areas aren’t having a bar of Telstra’s threats, with about three quarters of respondents agreeing with the statement that domestic roaming would have a positive impact on regional mobile investment.

“Another key finding is that more than three quarters of respondents agree that regional mobile coverage funded by Australian taxpayers should be open to all mobile customers through regulated domestic roaming.

“The majority of respondents also agree with the statements that regulated domestic roaming would bridge the telecommunications divide between regional and metropolitan areas, provide access to more competitive services and prices, encourage greater competition among mobile providers, and bring greater coverage.”

Mr Lloyd said the survey gave Australians in regional and remote areas a voice in the domestic roaming debate.

“What this research does is get back to the heart of the ACCC’s domestic roaming inquiry – Australian consumers,” he said.

“There has lot of been a lot of emotion and rhetoric involved in the debate to date, and we think it’s important to hear directly from the people who stand to benefit from domestic roaming.

“These are everyday Australians who’ve been asked neutral questions by an independent research firm, not interest groups which have been lobbied by vested interests, or any company for that matter.”

Mr Lloyd said it was time the domestic roaming debate focused on consumers and the facts.

“All the available international experience and data shows that domestic roaming is a successful solution for countries such as Australia with a large land mass and low population density, and there is no evidence of it having a negative impact on telecommunications investment,” he said.

“And with consumers now adding their voice to the discussion, the argument for regulated domestic roaming just got even stronger.

“A strong theme that came through in the research is that consumers value coverage, and it’s basic economics that if multiple providers are sharing the cost of infrastructure through domestic roaming, there should be more incentive for all operators to invest in new infrastructure.”

Key findings:

  • 82 per cent agreed domestic regulated roaming would enable regional residents to have access to more competitive services;
  • 81 per cent agreed regulated domestic roaming would enable residents to have access to more competitive prices;
  • 80 per cent agreed that regulated domestic roaming would bring greater coverage to all Australians;
  • 80 per cent agreed that regulated domestic roaming would encourage greater competition among mobile carriers;
  • 77 per cent of respondents agree that regional mobile coverage funded by Australian taxpayers should be open to all mobile customers through regulated domestic roaming;
  • 77 per cent agreed that regulated domestic roaming would bridge the telecommunications gap between regional areas and the major cities;
  • 74 per cent agreed that regulated domestic roaming would have a positive impact on regional mobile investment.

Regional Australians tell us about their mobile telecommunications experience