The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission’s Telecommunications Reports 2009-10, tabled in Parliament today, show clear trends developing around fixed and mobile services.
Subscription numbers for both fixed and mobile services suggest that while mobile take-up continues to grow, this is not necessarily at the cost of fixed line services. Convenience is prompting the growth of mobile phone services, though these remain primarily voice services. Fixed broadband remains the dominant technology for downloading data, accounting for 91 per cent of data volumes.
The ACCC’s reports show that prices for fixed voice services fell by 5.8 per cent. Prices for internet services fell by 4.9 per cent. Prices for mobile voice services were up slightly by 1.8 per cent, largely due to increased prices for GSM services, which are gradually being replaced by 3G technologies. However, prices for 3G services fell by 3.6 per cent.
2009-10 saw industry participants undertake significant restructuring and expand the scope of services supplied in response to consumer demands. This included the greater availability of service bundles, including the provision of television over the internet.
This period also saw the industry undergo major regulatory reforms as the National Broadband Network took shape. Steps were taken to address Telstra’s vertical integration and amend the access regime, long advocated by the ACCC. However, there were still a number of significant decisions yet to be made by the Minister and the ACCC which will have major impacts on competition.