Australia - Wholesale domestic mobile roaming service discussion paper released The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has released a discussion paper inviting submissions on whether it should declare a wholesale domestic mobile roaming service. On 26 September 2016, ACCC Chairman Rod Sims announced that the ACCC seeks to "explore the extent to which domestic mobile roaming would promote competition among providers and its effect on investment in mobile infrastructure". The ACCC seeks submissions on various issues relevant to its inquiry, including: • The current state of competition for mobile services and any barriers to extending mobile networks in regional Australia – the ACCC acknowledges that mobile service providers compete on price and non-price features of retail mobile offers, the quality of service available, and network coverage. It seeks to better understand the economically challenging nature of extending a mobile network in regional Australia due to low population density and high costs. • The effect that declaring a mobile roaming service may have on competition – by identifying and defining the relevant markets, assessing the state of competition in those markets, and considering the likely state of competition in those markets with and without the declaration. • Investment which has taken place in mobile networks since the last declaration inquiry – including the extent and nature of that investment. • The effect a declaration may have on the incentives for mobile network operators to invest in extending and improving their networks, and options to address any such effect – the ACCC understands that, in the absence of a declaration, mobile operators have an incentive to differentiate their network on the basis of coverage and have a legitimate business interest in being able to obtain exclusive benefit from their investment. • The importance of geographic coverage for consumers and mobile service providers – including how geographic scope would affect the extent to which a mobile roaming service may promote competition in the relevant markets. The discussion paper can be accessed here. Submission are due by 25 November 2016 and can be made via the online tool or by emailing [email protected] The ACCC expects to release a draft decision in early 2017 and a final decision in the first half of 2017. For more information, please contact Anne-Marie Allgrove, Toby Patten, Matthew Dempsey or Grace Loukides.