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Optus asks ACCC to block Telstra/TPG network sharing deal

Optus has lodged its submission in relation to the proposed Telstra/TPG merger authorisation with the Australian Competition & Consumer Commission (ACCC).

If the proposed transaction proceeds, the market structure will be more acutely characterised by a monopoly provider. This will lead to a loss of competition and material consumer and public detriment, such as:

  • Higher prices nationally,
  • Lower overall investment in the communications market,
  • Lower network and service quality,
  • Less choice for regional consumers and slower access to new technologies, and
  • Less resiliency in our communications infrastructure.

The submission highlights that the merger will “further entrench and extend the dominant market position of Telstra which will undermine the commercial viability of additional investment in regional infrastructure (which TPG is abandoning) by any rational company, ‘locking’ competition out of the regional market and eliminating choice in regional Australia.”

Optus’ submission raises other concerns about the merger, including that it:

  • Reduces the resilience and reliability of Australia’s telecommunications in regional areas – in some cases to the point where there may be no coverage in times of natural disaster.
  • Creates the very real prospect of Australia returning to a communications monopoly in regional Australia and opening up a vast digital divide between our cities and regions.
  • Does not add a single kilometre of additional coverage for regional Australia.

The submission further states, “The proposed network merger will not improve community or customer outcomes. If approved, it will have major adverse and irreversible consequences for the communications sector and ordinary Australians, especially those living in our regions.”

CT Bureau

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