Telco group accuses government of overlooking ‘challenger businesses’

Commpete seeks seat at the table for industry discussions

Telco group Commpete has accused communications minister Senator Mitch Fifield of overlooking “challenger businesses” in the government’s latest telecommunications industry roundtable.

“The Minister’s decision to overlook the challenger businesses in his latest industry roundtable means that, by definition, he will not hear ideas to drive better service by those businesses with the most powerful incentive to give consumers a better deal,” a statement issued by the group said.

“The crisis in consumer confidence in communications will only truly be turned around by listening to voices beyond those of the companies most responsible for creating it.”

Commpete is the rebranded and relaunched Competitive Carriers Coalition.

The organisation unveiled its new name in April. It brings together Amaysim, InABox, Macquarie Telecom, MNF Group, MyRepublic, Southern Phones, and TasmaNet and has set itself the goal of growing the telco “challenger sector” market share to 30 per cent. (Vocus was previously a member, but Computerworld understands it has left the group.)

“The NBN rollout was supposed to create a competitive level playing field for all Australians by promoting equitable access to the network, fostering competition amongst companies of all sizes to deliver innovative digital services to a marketplace hungry for choice and value,” Commpete said in its statement.

“Instead, Australia has witnessed further market consolidation as the big telcos have increased their market share, even as consumer complaints have escalated.”

“With the NBN rollout out two-thirds complete, time is running out for a comprehensive analysis of why NBN has not delivered the competitive boost expected to transform industry culture,” Commpete said.

“But the Minister can be sure he will not to hear innovative ideas to change the industry from regulators and a cozy collection of traditional carriers with the most to lose from competition.

“In the absence of views from challengers, there is a real risk a grab bag of short term fixes and heavy-handed regulation will be implemented, disproportionately hurting smaller businesses and inadvertently setting back competition, in turn making a long term solution harder to achieve.”

Correction: This article originally listed Vocus as a current member of Commpete. Vocus is no longer a member.

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Tags TelecommunicationsCommpete

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