Telcos clash over court costs in ACCC roaming fight

Vodafone’s bid to upend an Australian Competition and Consumer (ACCC) inquiry into mobile roaming has yet to be heard by the Federal Court, but already the telco has clashed with rival Telstra over potential associated legal costs.

A first case management hearing was held on Friday, with Optus and Telstra formally joining the proceedings mdash; Optus as an intervenor and Telstra as a respondent.

Computerworld previously reported that Optus and Telstra were seeking to be part of the case.

Although Vodafone acknowledged that the two rival telcos had a legitimate interest in joining the case, it sought to have Telstra’s status limited to that of an intervenor.

Vodafone’s opposition to having Telstra listed as a respondent was because it anticipated different treatment between the status of an intervenor and a respondent when it came to potentially footing the legal bills of its rivals.

The presiding judge, Justice Griffiths, rejected the Vodafone’s efforts and made no orders regarding costs.

The case has been set down for a two-day hearing on 27 and 28 September.

Vodafone is seeking to halt the ACCC from proceeding with its inquiry into mobile roaming. Vodafone is pushing for the ACCC to introduced a regulated mobile roaming service, but the competition regulator in May issued a draft decision indicating it was disinclined to do so.

Vodafone argues that the ACCC’s inquiry process is erroneous because the organisation did not specify details of the service it was considering declaring (declaring a service allows the ACCC to regulate it).

Copyright © 2017 IDG Communications, Inc.

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