Mobile data fees up: ACCC

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The ACCC’s 2020-21 Communications Market Report, released on Friday, found that Australia’s telcos generally met the challenge presented by the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing lockdowns, but that consumers overall are paying more than they did a year ago.Consumers only used only 11.8GB of data on average between 2020 and 2021, compared to a median data allowance of 35GB per month, with TPG, Optus and Telstra all increasing prices across their flagship products.“Reducing the expiry periods on prepaid plans from 35 and 42 days to 28 days is a price increase by stealth. Over a year, it means consumers are recharging more often, and therefore paying up to 25 per cent more for their mobile phone service,” ACCC Commissioner Anna Brakey said.The ACCC – which initially tried to block the 2020 merger between TPG and Vodafone – said it is concerned that since the merger, prices on many popular plans have risen as price competition is muted. TPG, Optus and Telstra account for 95 per cent of the postpaid mobile market between them.The watchdog also flagged that discussions between the ACCC, NBN Co and telcos over an NBN pricing overhaul are still ongoing.“We are particularly interested in providing a stable, long-term regulatory framework that promotes a sustainable and competitive NBN market. This is essential as the NBN infrastructure will underlie much of the economic and social activities of Australians in the decades to come,” Ms Brakey said.“Strong regulatory settings will provide greater certainty for industry, enhanced choice for consumers and more opportunities for businesses.”



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