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Cheaper mobile calls and texts possible with ACCC push


Australians could be seeing cheaper mobile phone call charges and a reduction in the price of texts if a draft decision by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) gets finalised.

The ACCC announced that it had put forward a draft decision to regulate the prices mobile network operators are able to charge each other and fixed-line operators for calls that come through on their networks. The draft decision has also set a price for receiving text messages.

“We would expect that the savings will be passed onto consumers either in the way of lower charges or thorough improved call and SMS inclusions in retail plans,” ACCC Commissioner Cristina Cifuentes said.

The ACCC’s draft decision has proposed a 1.61 cents per minute limit on the price of terminating calls on Australian mobile networks, which would mark a drop of 1.99 cents from the 3.6 cents it stands at now. The statutory authority says they are “benchmarking the costs of terminating calls on mobile overseas”.

Based upon network capacity and the equipment used, the ACCC has proposed that an SMS cost 0.03 cents to be received by an Australian mobile network.

“While Australian mobile network operators are transitioning to 4G technology and have announced plans to roll out voice over 4G technology, voice over LTE, later this year, the take-up of this technology and the effect upon the costs of terminating calls on Australian mobile networks is currently uncertain,” Ms Cifuentes said.

The draft proposes that these prices be enforced from 1 January 2016 to 30 June 2019. Submissions on the draft can be entered by 5 June 2015, while a final ACCC report is expected to be released in July 2015.