A Current Affair's claims on mobile phone call drop-out are wrong


The Australian mobile phone industry rejects claims on last night’s A Current Affair on Channel Nine that the industry is profiteering from mobile phone call drop outs in so-called blackspots.

The CEO of the Australian Mobile Telecommunications Association, Graham Chalker, said such allegations were baseless.

According to official figures from the Australian Communications Authority, the level of mobile calls dropping out is one per cent or less.

Mr Chalker said: “About 99% of calls are successful. Australia’s network performance compares favourably with other countries. The official figures show that our call drop out performance has been improving.

“It is wrong for A Current Affair to try and claim that the industry makes big profits from one per cent or less of the calls. This simply does not add up.

“A Current Affair wants people to believe that it is in the carriers’ interests to have calls drop out. Nothing could be further from the truth. Phone companies go to a lot of time, trouble and expense to meet the coverage needs of their customers.

“If customers are not satisfied they go elsewhere. It is a very competitive market.

“Despite the best efforts of all carriers to reduce call drop outs, radio technology does have its limitations. It is not possible to guarantee 100% success in 100% of calls. Radio waves, just like your car radio, are affected by such things as topography, weather conditions, buildings and the siting of towers.

“Acquiring and building a base station can take up to two years. A solution may require extensive community and council consultation to find a suitable site. Sometimes, community opposition, government regulations or other factors may extend the period in which a solution can be found.”

Mr Chalker said there were already commercial roaming agreements in place between many of the carriers and A Current Affair was wrong to claim that roaming was a simple solution to the issue of call drop outs.

The Australian Consumer and Competition Commission had studied the issue twice and concluded that mandated roaming was not in the long-term interests of users because it would act to reduce investment and innovation.

Mr Chalker said there were technical difficulties and significant costs in mandating roaming.

For more information contact Randal Markey, Manager, Communications, (02) 6239 6555 or 0421 240 550