VHA files judicial review proceedings in relation to domestic roaming inquiry process
STATEMENT FROM VODAFONE HUTCHISON AUSTRALIA
Australian mobile phone users will continue to pay too much and suffer poor coverage in regional areas following the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s (ACCC) draft decision on domestic roaming.
The domestic mobile roaming inquiry is an opportunity to do better for regional Australia, but if domestic roaming is not declared, consumers will be denied the benefits of increased coverage, competition and choice.
We feel so strongly about the impact on consumers, we are taking legal action as we believe the inquiry process which produced the draft decision was flawed.
VHA has filed judicial review proceedings, asking the Federal Court to review the ACCC’s inquiry process on behalf of all Australian mobile customers.
We do not believe the process has been carried out properly because a specific domestic roaming service has not been defined by the ACCC. The process is failing consumers because it is too vague.
The decision on domestic roaming is too important to regional Australia for the inquiry to continue in a flawed way.
VHA will continue to work collaboratively with the ACCC, government and industry to improve consumer outcomes for regional Australians.
VHA has filed for judicial review of the ACCC’s process in the domestic roaming inquiry in the Federal Court. The grounds are essentially that the ACCC has asked for final submissions in its inquiry, but it has not identified a detailed description of the roaming service, which VHA considers it is required to do by law. A service description for a domestic mobile roaming service could define the scope of the service, including, for example, by limiting domestic roaming to regional Australia or by limiting domestic roaming only to areas with one or two mobile networks.
VHA’s position also reflects the ACCC’s past conduct in other declaration inquiries, where the ACCC had specifically set out the proposed service description that is the subject of the inquiry. In addition, the ACCC’s own declaration guidelines state that specifically identifying an appropriate service description is an important and key step in a declaration inquiry process.
Defining the specific service which could be declared is fundamental to the process. Without knowing the parameters of the proposed declared service, it is not possible for the ACCC to conduct its analysis of whether regulating such a service would be in the Long Term Interests of End Users or not, and it is not possible for interested parties to provide relevant and meaningful submissions in response to the Draft Report.