By Claire Reilly

SYDNEY, NSW: The ACCC released its two Telecommunications Reports for the 2009-10 financial year today, presenting their findings to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, and tabling them with Parliament.

The reports, which outline the competitive safeguards in the Australian telecommunications industry and the changes in prices paid by consumers for telecommunications services over the year, provided insight into the changing Australian technology landscape.

Most significantly, The ACCC reports reviewed subscription numbers for fixed and mobile services and found that “while mobile take-up continues to grow, this is not necessarily at the cost of fixed line services”.

“SIO [Services in Operation] numbers for fixed line voice services have remained relatively stable, dropping from 10.67 million to 10.59 million by June 2010, while mobile subscriptions have continued to grow, rising by 7 per cent to just under 26 million by June 2010,” the report read.

“Convenience is prompting the growth of mobile phone services, though these remain primarily voice services.”

Additionally, the report found that “fixed broadband remains the dominant technology for downloading data, accounting for 91 per cent of data volumes.”

In terms of pricing of telecommunications services, the ACCC reported that “prices for fixed voice services fell by 5.8 per cent [and] prices for internet services fell by 4.9 per cent.

“Prices for mobile voice services were up slightly by 1.8 per cent, largely due to increased prices for GSM services, which are gradually being replaced by 3G technologies. However, prices for 3G services fell by 3.6 per cent.”

The ACCC also provided insight into the broader trends in Australian telecommunications and the ways consumers are interacting with new services.

“2009-10 saw industry participants undertake significant restructuring and expand the scope of services supplied in response to consumer demands,” the report noted. “This included the greater availability of service bundles, including the provision of television over the internet.

“This period also saw the industry undergo major regulatory reforms as the National Broadband Network took shape. Steps were taken to address Telstra’s vertical integration and amend the access regime, long advocated by the ACCC. However, there were still a number of significant decisions yet to be made by the Minister and the ACCC which will have major impacts on competition.”