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Formal investigation of trans-Tasman roaming to begin
New Zealand and Australia have launched a formal investigation into the trans-Tasman roaming services provided by the two countries’ mobile operators.

Communications and Information Technology Minister Steven Joyce made the announcement this morning with his Australian counterpart Senator Stephen Conroy, at the Korea-Australia-New Zealand (KANZ) Broadband Summit.

“Many New Zealanders take their mobile phone, tablet or laptop with them when they travel to Australia. They need to have confidence that they are purchasing services in a competitive market. If this investigation finds they are not, then regulatory intervention will be considered,” says Mr Joyce.

The announcement follows the publication in May last year of a discussion paper that sought stakeholder views on whether a formal investigation was warranted.

The two Ministers’ decision to proceed was based on analysis of traffic and revenue information provided by the operators as well as views expressed by respondents to the May 2010 consultation.

“Our view is that, on the basis of the information before us, it is reasonable and appropriate to undertake a full market investigation,” says Mr Joyce.

The investigation will be conducted by New Zealand’s Ministry of Economic Development (MED) and Australia’s Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy.

As part of the investigation, the two governments will release a draft decision outlining their conclusions on the state of competition and, if appropriate, their preferred options for action. The draft decision will be made available publicly for comment before a final decision is made.

The two governments expect to release their final decision in early 2012