Story image

Core telecommunications services to keep being regulated to protect consumers

By RNZ, 13 May 2021

The consumer watchdog will continue to regulate three core telecommunications services in order to protect consumers.

The regulation covers three wholesale telecommunications, including number portability, interconnection with a fixed public switched telephone network (PSTN) and mobile co-location.

Telecommunications commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said the services continued to play an important role and would be regulated at least for now, with reviews required every five years.

"As markets evolve, new retail services are developed and wholesale service providers can face increased competition to an extent that it may no longer be necessary to mandate access, but we are not yet at this point for these particular services," Gilbertson said.

Number portability enabled consumers to keep their existing mobile or landline number when switching to a different service provider.

"It's easy to see how people being able to keep their number if they choose to switch between providers drives competition for the benefit of consumers.

"Likewise, we have decided to continue regulating mobile co-location. This is important for driving competition because it allows operators to share mobile network transmission sites and related equipment with competitors, lowering the cost of providing services throughout the country compared to self-providing infrastructure from the ground up."

Fixed PSTN interconnection enabled consumers on one network to call another, although the service was gradually being replaced by fiber and wireless networks, Gilbertson said.

"Spark has commenced a process to decommission its PSTN in response to diminishing demand, but PSTN services remain important in many parts of the country, so we have decided we need to continue regulating this service for the time being.

"In submissions on this draft decision, stakeholders largely agreed that the wholesale services under review should remain regulated for now."

This story was originally published on RNZ.co.nz and is republished with permission.

Recent stories
More stories