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Australia: Possible telco price signaling shows limits of the law

 |  May 19, 2014

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission is reportedly eyeing several of the nation’s top wireless firms over whether they are signaling prices to each other to the detriment of competition.

Reports say Telstra, SingTel-Optus and Vodafone Hutchison Australia executives are being eyed by the regulator over public comments that may be considered price signaling, which occurs when businesses release information regarding pricing plans that harms competition.

Price signaling is a main concern for the ACCC following findings that the nation’s four major banks had conducted the anticompetitive behavior. The banking collusion lead to revamped anti-price signaling laws in 2012.

Now, telco operators are suspected of it after the three companies all cut subsidies paid on smartphones in the last two years. The similar pricing trends, along with public comments by executives at the three companies, are now under review by the ACCC.

While the regulator said it has taken notice of the comments, ACCC chairman Rod Sims said “the part of the law that would deal with it most are the laws related to what’s called price signaling, which at the moment by regulation only apply to the banking sector, not telecommunications. He declined to comment further on any action the authority would take on the matter.

Full content: The Sydney Morning Herald

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