AUSTRALIA’S mobile phone plan has been in limbo since the government cancelled its mobile network subsidy in the wake of the Great Barrier Reef Barrier Reef bleaching.
The move was a blow to the industry and meant consumers were forced to pay up to $50 a month more than they normally would.
But that isn’t the only problem with the mobile network, which is now under pressure from mobile networks like Telstra, Vodafone and Optus to increase speeds.
In the wake for the Government’s decision to abandon the subsidy, the competition watchdog has recommended the Government review the network and find a way to keep the existing $50 mobile plan affordable for Australians.
It also said there was evidence mobile phone users had become disconnected from the telecommunications network and that the lack of affordable plans could create barriers to entry in the market.
A spokesman for the Competition Bureau told The World Today it had been contacted by mobile carriers and suggested they were interested in reviewing their current mobile network options.
But the regulator said it was too early to recommend to the Government to reconsider the subsidies.
The bureau’s report said that while there was a lack of clarity about the reasons for the decision to discontinue the subsidy for mobile services, it was likely to have been made because of an inability to attract more subscribers to the mobile market.
“There is evidence that mobile phone subscribers are becoming disconnected from their telecommunications networks,” it said.
“It is likely that a lack or unwillingness to renew mobile subscriptions is contributing to the lack or disconnection.”
The report also suggested mobile carriers may need to consider switching to lower-cost mobile networks, particularly in rural and remote areas.
“This could be a major hurdle for some carriers, particularly those in rural areas, as a large number of subscribers are currently not on their network,” it read.
“The introduction of higher-speed network services in areas where there are high rates of disconnection could be the next major obstacle to uptake.”
In a statement, the Competition and Consumer Commission said it had heard “significant concerns” from mobile operators and was reviewing the network subsidies in Australia.
“These concerns include concerns about the lack.
affordability of mobile network plans and the difficulty of determining whether and how much mobile network users are actually using their mobile phone services,” it added.
The regulator said mobile network subsidies were the “first step” towards a more sustainable and cost-effective telecommunications network.
“As the Commission is aware of the current state of the mobile phone network and the Government has yet to commit to any changes to the network, it is too early in the review process to make any recommendations about the future of the subsidy,” the statement read.
Topics:electronic-communication,consumer-finance,internet-technology,government-and-politics,internet,telecommunications,internet networks,business-economics-and/or-futures,technology,internetaustraliaFirst posted March 27, 2019 12:42:48Contact the writer