Basic telecommunications services must continue to be regulated to protect consumers

The consumer watchdog will continue to regulate three basic telecommunications services to protect consumers.

File picture.
Photo: 123RF

The regulation covers three wholesale telecommunications, including number portability, interconnection with a fixed public switched telephone network (PSTN), and mobile collocation.

Telecommunications Commissioner Tristan Gilbertson said the services continued to play an important role and would be regulated at least for now, with reviews required every five years.

“As markets evolve, new retail services are developed and wholesale service providers may face increased competition to the point that it may no longer be necessary to mandate access, but we’re not at that point yet for those particular services,” Gilbertson said.

Number portability has allowed consumers to keep their existing mobile or landline number when changing service providers.

“It’s easy to see how people who can keep their number if they choose to switch provider drive competition to the benefit of consumers.

“Similarly, we have decided to continue to regulate mobile co-location. This is important to stimulate competition as it allows operators to share mobile network transmission sites and related equipment with competitors, thereby reducing the cost of providing nationwide services versus self-providing infrastructure from scratch.”

Fixed PSTN interconnect allowed consumers on one network to call another, although the service was gradually being replaced by fiber and wireless networks, Gilbertson said.

“Spark has begun a process of decommissioning its PSTN in response to declining demand, but PSTN services remain important in many parts of the country, so we have decided that we should continue to regulate this service for the time being. .

“In submissions on this draft decision, stakeholders broadly agreed that the wholesale services under consideration should remain regulated for now.”

Sean B. Jackson