The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) has moved to tumble a major stumbling block to tele-communications deregulation in Australia, requesting the Australian Communications Authority (ACA) demand local telcos provide full number portability to their outgoing customers.
Although the mandate comes without any specific deadline, ACCC officials say that the move is a positive step toward fostering a more competitive spirit in the local telecommunications industry.
Number portability refers to the ability of telephony services users to retain their original phone numbers after migrating to other networks.
Alleged refusal to make number portability available was one of the issues raised by telecoms carrier Optus Communications recently.
The company said it planned to institute legal proceedings against rival Telstra over what it termed “anti-competitive practices”.
The ACCC decree, which is particularly significant for business customers, demands telcos provide portability for local telephone services, free-phone services and local-rate services from “the earliest practicable date”.
Rod Shogren, ACCC commissioner responsible for telecommunications says “[Number portability] increases the pressure on telecommunications suppliers to compete more vigorously, encouraging lower prices, and a greater range and quality of services.”