ACCC to probe regional mobile tower access issues

A public inquiry will look at allowing greater third-party access to mobile towers and how these assets might host temporary roaming services in emergencies.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission inquiry will look at the costs of providing towers and associated infrastructure, including land access, and how these translate into the fee structures for firms interested in accessing towers to provide mobile and other wireless services.

It will also look at the factors that influence industry decisions about whether to invest in towers and provide better mobile coverage.

The review follows the Federal Government’s response to recommendation nine of the 2021 Regional Telecommunications Review advising that it examine the feasibility of providing mobile roaming during natural disasters and other emergencies.

To that end, the ACCC inquiry will also consider the technical feasibility of providing roaming during these circumstances, as well as the business systems and processes that would be required, and the time and cost involved.

The inquiry will begin by 1 July 2022, with the ACCC required to report within 12 months. Following the publication of a draft report, the ACCC will seek further submissions before providing its final report to the government.