The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) announced its final decision on Friday to drop the price of MTAS for voice services from AU$0.017 per minute to AU$0.0119 per minute from January 1. 

MTAS is a wholesale service that allows consumers to send and receive calls and messages between different mobile phone network providers. If unregulated, it would allow telcos to charge higher prices for incoming calls and text messages from other providers.

In the case of Australia, MTAS has been regulated for almost two decades, and this started out at a rate of AU$0.21 per minute.

In its decision, the ACCC said even though the large mobile network operators (MNOs) might not “respond significantly” to a drop in price, mobile virtual network operators would.

“The ACCC considers that the net impact on the MNOs may have become small as the MTAS represents both a cost and a revenue,” it wrote.

“On the other hand, the MTAS may have a more significant impact on fixed-line network operators and MVNOs, as it represents a direct and indirect cost, not a revenue.”

When it released its draft decision in May, the ACCC suggested a price of AU$0.0122 per minute until 30 June 2024.

“The ACCC considers that a flat rate MTAS price across the FAD [final access determination] period is more appropriate than having the MTAS price reduce marginally every year over the course of the FAD period. However, the ACCC acknowledges that the adoption of the 2020 cost estimate gives rise to concern that the MTAS price does not take into account forecast cost reductions,” it said.

“As such, the ACCC has come to the view that it would be more appropriate to account for the estimated reduction in the MTAS cost in setting the flat rate MTAS price.”

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