ComCom says OK to Telecom Skinny handset locking

Commission will watch developments as part of market monitoring function

As indicated in a Computerworld interview with Telecommunications Commissioner Ross Patterson in January, the Commerce Commission will not be intervening over a complaint from mobile operator 2degrees over Telecom Skinny’s SIM locking of its handsets.

In December 2degrees wrote to the Commission expressing its “concern” after it discovered Telecom Skinny’s plans to lock handsets to the Telecom network.

2degrees argued that in 2008 the Commission had provided a clear directive to Vodafone that the introduction of handset locking would be harmful to competition and that a proposed $30 fee to unlock Skinny handsets would be “a new and unwarranted barrier to consumer choice.”

But in a response to 2degrees complaint posted on the Commerce Commission’s website on Wednesday, Patterson says the Commission will not be taking any action, other than to continue to monitor the competitive impact of the Skinny handset locking offer through its routine market monitoring function.

2 degrees director of corporate affairs Mat Bolland says the Telecom Skinny handset locking was “unnecessary and a backward step for competition”

Bolland says that customers need to be informed in a transparent manner.

“It’s no good advertising yourself as the ultimate in flexibility when your prepay customers are locked in to your network,” he says.

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