How MNOs are holding back the unified comms market Thursday 15 August 2019 @ 17:28

 How MNOs are harming the unified comms market


This opinion piece was authored by Jon Cleaver, the CCO of MNF Group, and published as a letter to the editor in Commsday on the 4th of July 2019.





The recent ACCC determination into Mobile services gained a lot of attention on its SMS and MTAS pricing sections. However there was a third component for which the ramifications of which can easily be overlooked: a "simple definition" of what MTAS actually is. Yet this is being used as the basis for a major MNO to restrict competition, leaving Australian businesses at the whim of the incumbents for a further 5 years.

Unified communications or UCaaS is well established and widely recognised as the future of business communications. Although Australia is behind many countries in its adoption, nonetheless UCaaS it is already here, and with the PSTN shutdown is set to reach monumental scale. A major aspect of UCaaS is mobility - utilising numbers which are multi-function with voice, SMS and MMS. To provide this capability, mobile numbers are utilised in the cloud. Again nothing new here, ACMA have provided mobile numbers for this purpose for many years.


Yet due to the power of the MNOs and their unduly narrow interpretation of the definition of a mobile network, they choose to not recognise (condition) these numbers from digital mobile network operators (i.e. anyone outside the 3 MNOs), which renders the numbers absolutely useless!


The MNOs are now pushing this as their own lead business product while locking other operators out. What cuts to the bone more than anything, is that the very part of the service they are restricting for others is the basis of all their advertising & taglines with "Anytime, Anywhere" clear for all to see.


I challenge any provider from small niche RSPs to large Silicon Valley giants, even the MNOs themselves to dispute that these mobility, SMS and MMS services are the core fundamental basis for UC today and into the future. The ACCC had a difficult job in this area, however it is extremely disappointing that any but the top 3 MNOs are locked out from delivering these UCaaS-enabling services.


This is why as an industry, we need to speak out – to stop us falling another step behind our global counterparts.


Jon Cleaver, CCO of MNF Group