Primus slams ACCC over size of Telstra fine

Primus Telecom today expressed outrage at a decision by Australia's competition watchdog, the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to fine Telstra $6.5 million.

Telstra has agreed to fork out the money in compensation for its wholesale customers to help end a year-long clash over cut-price Internet broadband prices.

The ACCC issued a competition notice against Telstra last March after the telco slashed broadband prices for its retail customers to $29.95 a month. But the price cuts did not apply to Telstra's wholesale clients, who claimed they still had to pay $36 a month to access Telstra's network.

Primus Telecom regulatory affairs manager, Ian Slattery, said the compensation figure wouldn't deter anti-competitive conduct by Telstra and was the equivalent of a "parking fine".

"Given the damage that Telstra's conduct caused the industry as it reaped outstanding benefits, the $6.5 million Telstra now has to pay could be characterized as an excellent investment," Slattery said.

"This demonstrates the failure of the telecommunications competition regime and the need for its urgent rehabilitation before Telstra is unleashed as a fully privatized entity," he said.

In fact Telstra's head of regulatory affairs Bill Scales agreed the $6.5 million worth of rebates was a small price to pay, but insisted Telstra had never tried to act in an anti-competitive way.

In addition to the fine Telstra has promised to provide up to 15 days notice of future price cuts.

Telstra's decision to lower prices for wholesale customers last month also helped resolve the situation.

ACCC chairman Graeme Samuel said Telstra acknowledged its cut-price offerings made in February 2004 adversely affected its broadband customers which is why Telstra has offered reduced pricing, and rebates.

IT Minister Helen Coonan said resolution of the dispute proved current regulatory arrangements work.

As a result of the resolution reached between the ACCC and Telstra, the watchdog will not ask the Federal Court to enforce the competition notice that was issued against the telco.

Had it been enforced, Telstra could have been fined $10 million for each contravention of the notice and $1 million for every day it continued.

Join the newsletter!


Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.
Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Sandra Rossi

Show Comments

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles


PCW Evaluation Team

Tom Pope

Dynabook Portégé X30L-G

Ultimately this laptop has achieved everything I would hope for in a laptop for work, while fitting that into a form factor and weight that is remarkable.

Tom Sellers


This smart laptop was enjoyable to use and great to work on – creating content was super simple.

Lolita Wang


It really doesn’t get more “gaming laptop” than this.

Jack Jeffries


As the Maserati or BMW of laptops, it would fit perfectly in the hands of a professional needing firepower under the hood, sophistication and class on the surface, and gaming prowess (sports mode if you will) in between.

Taylor Carr


The MSI PS63 is an amazing laptop and I would definitely consider buying one in the future.

Christopher Low

Brother RJ-4230B

This small mobile printer is exactly what I need for invoicing and other jobs such as sending fellow tradesman details or step-by-step instructions that I can easily print off from my phone or the Web.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?