Vodafone delivers statement on ACCC domestic roaming issues paper

Statement to be attributed to Vodafone Chief Strategy Officer Dan Lloyd

Domestic roaming has the potential to substantially increase competition, finally giving regional Australia a choice. We’re pleased to see the ACCC act quickly by releasing its issues paper and we look forward to contributing to this vitally important process.

It’s imperative that the interests of consumers and competition remain front and centre of the domestic roaming discussion. It has been disappointing to see their voices get lost in the noise from other players. Vodafone is proud to be standing up for regional customers, along with others including a number of regional MPs and farming industry bodies.

Domestic roaming has been mandated in virtually every western economy with a large land area and low population density for many years – the USA, Canada, Spain, France and New Zealand. There is no international evidence that domestic roaming reduces investment incentives.

In Australia, it is simply uneconomical to build more than one mobile network in many rural and remote areas. The incumbent has received and continues to receive substantial funding and subsidies to deploy its regional mobile and fixed networks.  We believe that if infrastructure has been subsidised by taxpayers, there is an even stronger argument that the benefits should be made available to all Australians.

If the ACCC were to regulate domestic roaming, there would be no “free ride”, as the owner of the network would receive a fair price and a reasonable rate of return for the use of its network.