Australia must put competition back at the centre of communications policy and aim to reverse market concentration if it is to recapture the vision that inspired the NBN, Australia’s competitive digital communications alliance, COMMPETE, warns today at CommsDay Summit 2018.
Relaunching today as ‘Commpete’; the challengers, the innovators and the emerging players who have been the leading voices for competition as the Competitive Carriers Coalition (CCC), commit to drive the policy and regulatory environment for real competition in the telecommunications sector as we move past the NBN rollout phase.
Commpete’s vision is for a communications market where:
· Flourishing wholesale markets enabled by open customer access markets;
· The ability for challenger companies to enter and thrive in new markets, driving investment by all; and
· Success would be embodied in the growth of the market share of companies outside the top three in fixed and mobile markets from 10-12% to 30%.
Commpete warns that if we don’t start to move towards the 30% target, Australian consumers and businesses will continue to lose out.
Chair of Commpete, Ms Michelle Lim says, “Before we can improve, we have to acknowledge that there is a problem.
“The simplest measure of this is that, for all the investment and disruption into the NBN, Telstra market share in broadband continues to sit stubbornly at 50% plus.
“One of the key reasons behind the NBN initiative was to stimulate competition to drive lower prices and better services.
“There is often focus by competition policymakers and regulators on limiting concentration among the biggest companies in an industry, such as by preventing mergers among the top three or four companies.
“But too often the factors that advantage these big companies are not considered.”
Commpete says systematically identifying and fixing the factors perpetuating the power of the big incumbents that prevent a level playing field was crucial, and urgent.
This ranged from factors such as complex and restrictive contracts and pricing structures from NBN that only very large companies had the resources to understand, to ensuring that those who were given the right to develop valuable publicly owned spectrum for next generation mobile services were obliged to support competition, in the way other advanced countries have required.
Ms Lim says, “This is the time to give Australians better choices if we want to leap frog to a more dynamic market. We have spent all this time and money, not to mention the opportunity cost for Australia, yet have achieved precisely, in competition terms, nothing.
“It’s time for competition policy to benefit the 10 million households who rely on telecommunications services. It’s time for competition policy to benefit Australian businesses because our businesses are vulnerable to high prices, unreliable access, slow speeds and uncertainty. It’s time for consumers and businesses to have access to communication services that perform well against other developed nations. It’s time to have competition policy that helps Australians stay ahead of the game, rather than policy that runs rampant risks to Australia’s telecommunications future.”
Today, Commpete – the new alliance for competition in digital communications, launches at CommsDay Summit 2018.
Challenger organisations have united together to be a consistent and cohesive voice, and influence decisions about the regulatory and market framework that will decide the level of competition into the future. Commpete will advocate consistently for a collective national benefit.
Commpete brings together an alliance of some of our nation’s most dynamic digital communications companies to fight for real competition for consumers, small business and the economy.
Ms Lim says, “Real competition is good for consumers, good for businesses and good for our economy. It ensures better prices and faster and more reliable products. Commpete will speak out for the advancement and betterment of Australian consumers, businesses and the economy.”
Commpete was founded in 2004 and was known as the Competitive Carriers’ Coalition (CCC).