ACCC mulls response to Telstra 4G wholesale complaint

Watchdog has received a complaint about "alleged anti-competitive conduct in the market for wholesale 4G mobile services"

Image credit: Telstra.

Image credit: Telstra.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission has confirmed it is assessing allegations of anti-competitive conduct in the wholesale 4G market.

The Australian this morning reported that the watchdog body has since September been looking into whether Telstra is misusing its market power in relation to wholesaling 4G services.

"The ACCC has received a complaint in relation to alleged anti-competitive conduct in the market for wholesale 4G mobile services and is considering the matter," an ACCC spokesperson told Computerworld Australia.

"The ACCC has no further comment regarding its investigation of the matter at this time."

The Australian reported that telcos had complained over delays in Telstra offering wholesale 4G services and over a requirement for wholesale customers to move to a new wholesale platform that is more restricted "with less functionality, restricted coverage and smaller data quotas than those enjoyed by Telstra’s retail customers".

After the report Telstra hit back with a post on its Exchange blog that said its target date for offering 4G wholesale services "remains unchanged" and rejected the claim that there had been "delays".

That telco announced earlier this year that the target for offering 4G wholesale services was "no later than June 2016".

"It is the only timing commitment on a 4G wholesale product we have made and we are on track to deliver," said the post today by the head of the telco's wholesale business, Stuart Lee.

The Australian reported that the telco had privately indicated to its customers it would open up its 4G network at the start of 2015.

"In close collaboration with our customers, we have followed a deliberate and strategic sequence in developing our wholesale mobiles product in the past few years," Lee wrote in his post.

"First, we built a state-of-the-art wholesale platform offering 3G pre-paid. Then we added 3G post-paid. Then we expanded the 3G coverage of our product. Now, 4G is the natural next step and we are busy undertaking the work necessary to offer it...

"Of course, the 4G wholesale product we are developing will be launched in a competitive environment in which companies are free to invest in their own infrastructure and other carriers also provide wholesale services."

Telstra publicly announced in March its intention to wholesale 4G services.

A number of mobile virtual network operators already offer 4G services on Optus' network.

Vodafone currently only offers wholesale 3G services.

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