Australia's second tier telcos want better internet speeds and a bigger share of the market

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  • Australia’s second tier telcos say they want an end to high prices and slow internet speeds.
  • They also want a bigger share of the market.
  • And better regulation to ensure real competition.

Six of Australia’s second tier telecos today launched Commpete, a lobby on policy and regulations to encourage real competition, an end to Telstra’s dominance, and better service in the telecommunications sector.

The junior telco CEOs launching the digital communications alliance are: Julian Ogrin of Amaysim; Damian Kay, InABox; David Tudehope, Macquarie Telecom; Rene Sugo, MNF Group; Nicolas Demos, MyRepublic; and Joel Harris, TasmaNet.

The telcos want an end to high prices, unreliable access and slow internet speeds. Australia is 51st in the world for internet speeds.

“It’s time for consumers and businesses to have access to communication services that perform well against other developed nations,” they say.

They want to see growth of market share of companies outside the top three in fixed and mobile markets grow by 10 to 12 percentage points to 30%.

Michelle Lim, the chair of Commpete, says real competition is good for consumers, good for businesses and good for the economy.

“It ensures better prices and faster and more reliable products,” she says.

However, she says there’s 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,” she says.

“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 is crucial.

The factors include complex and restrictive contracts and pricing structures from NBN that only very large companies have the resources to understand.

Another is to ensure those given the right to develop publicly-owned spectrum for next generation mobile services are obliged to support competition.

“This is the time to give Australians better choices if we want to leap frog to a more dynamic market,” says Lim.

“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 Australian businesses because our businesses are vulnerable to high prices, unreliable access, slow speeds and uncertainty.”

Commpete is the latest incarnation of the Competitive Carriers’ Coalition, founded in 2004.

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