Commpete today released a Policy Submission to the Federal Government to reinvigorate competition, lower prices and improve services for households and businesses.
The submission aims to lift performance and drive more competitive market outcomes for consumers and Ms Lim said it was time for reform in an industry which still saw an unhealthy domination by the Big-3 communications providers.
“By global standards, Australian households and businesses pay too much for mobile and fixed internet services and are being starved of the latest products and services already available overseas,” said Ms Lim.
“The NBN was supposed to make us number one in the world for internet services, but instead we spent $50 billion and slipped further and further behind on competition and all the benefits it brings.”
The submission calls for five core policy reforms:
Creating right of access to mobile networks for challengers
Giving the NBN Co CEO a KPI target of 30% market share for competitor brands
A Write down of NBN
Competition Impact Statement developed to support government and regulator policy
A Commitment to structural separation principles of NBN
“Our proposal won’t be met with the applause of the incumbents but change rarely is. It will however directly benefit consumers by creating the conditions for sustainable, vibrant competition,” said Ms Lim.
“The Government and regulators play a vital role in ensuring the ‘right balance’ is struck between both dominant and non-dominant providers.”
A JP Morgan report from 2012 when the NBN was incepted gave us a good benchmark that with an effective competition policy, a healthy market would see challengers occupy 30% of the market.
But Ms Lim said the players outside the Big-3 still only 10-12% of market share across fixed and mobile and if we keep going down the current path that will not change.
“Without change, the Big-3 will milk their assets, manipulate the timing of the release of new technology and new features to maximise profit and only when there is competitive pressure, favour retail channels and keep the most profitable customers away from wholesale.
“Ultimately, as long as the Big-3 can dictate the terms of wholesale by limiting what is sold, how it is sold and who it is sold to, consumers won’t see the new products, services and options that will drive productivity and better value for money.
“Policy makers should focus on lifting competitiveness in Australia’s fixed and mobile markets to giving households and small businesses access to the fastest and most diverse range of products and services possible to make Australia a leading digital nation.”