Commerce Commission retains power to regulate national roaming

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Wellington, July 11, 2018

The Commerce Commission has released its preliminary view to retain the power to regulate national mobile roaming, should it be required in the future.
Mobile roaming allows customers of one mobile network to use another network when they are outside their own provider’s coverage area.

Background to the Rule

Network operators are only required to make their networks available to access seekers who meet certain conditions, including having a network of at least 100 cell sites or having a network that covers at least 10% of the New Zealand population.

National roaming regulation does not regulate wholesale access for mobile virtual network operators (MVNOs).

Three Operators
The Commission has the power to require the country’s three mobile network operators: Spark, Vodafone, and 2degrees to provide wholesale access to their networks for a period of time to any new network operator.

This regulation would enable a new operator to quickly expand its coverage beyond its own initial physical network,
National mobile roaming helped 2degrees deliver a nationwide service for its customers from day one, in advance of rolling out its own national network infrastructure.

“We believe that the power to regulate remains an important competition safeguard, especially with 5G networks and potential new entrants on the horizon,” Telecommunications Commissioner Dr Stephen Gale said.

Under the Telecommunications Act, the Commission is required once every five years to consider the deregulation of certain services, including national mobile roaming.

Dr Gale said that the Commerce Commission is inviting submissions on its preliminary view by 5 pm on July 30, 2018.

Submissions can be emailed to regulation,branch

A final decision is expected to be announced on September 4, 2018.
The Preliminary Views Paper can be found here.

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