The telecom industry has supported a proposal by the government to make mobile phone calls to 1800 numbers free by 2015.
The change to the national numbering plan, which would align mobile call rates more closely with fixed line, was proposed today by the Australian Communications and Media Authority. The government agency is seeking comment on the suggested change.
The Communications Alliance strongly supported the change, saying its telecom industry members would work to make it happen sooner than the 1 January 2015 proposed date by ACMA.
“Industry’s ability to deliver these benefits to consumers more rapidly is made possible because the industry proposal involves fewer changes to call types, commercial arrangements and tariffing than would be the case under the alternative ACMA proposal,” the Alliance said.
ACMA chairman Chris Chapman said the proposed change “reflects changing consumer use of telecommunications services and improving price transparency, with benefits for industry, consumers and government agencies”.
“While there is still significant work ahead to realise these benefits, including the renegotiation by industry of interconnect agreements for calls to free phone numbers, I would very much welcome efforts by service providers to enable these benefits to be realised earlier than 1 January 2015.”
The ACMA said it also “continues to consider” possible changes to the cost of calls from mobile phones to 13/1300 numbers. “The ACMA has received a number of submissions about this body of work and is continuing its discussions with stakeholders,” the agency said.
The Communications Alliance said it’s “now responding to ACMA requests for additional information on how these industry proposals would be given effect.”
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