North Rock takes legal advice on new Digicel internet service
North Rock Communications has consulted Government asking for clarification on whether Digicel is allowed to provide internet services and is also seeking legal advice over the matter.
This is in response to the launch of the new Digicel Internet service provided by internet service provider (ISP) Transact yesterday for prices as low as $25 per month for speeds of 1 Megabit per second.
A statement from North Rock said: “North Rock has asked for clarification from the Ministry of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy to understand if Digicel can provide internet and we are also seeking legal advice.”
In an interview with The Royal Gazette also yesterday, Digicel CEO Wayne Caines refuted claims that his company had jumped the gun on regulatory reform following the acquisition of Transact and the launch of its long-distance call service for its post-paid customers.
TeleBermuda International (TBI), KeyTech and North Rock Communications all raised initial concerns that the Transact deal seemed to go against the principles of Government’s telecoms reform process with current regulations restricting telecommunications companies to offering only the services that their licence allows.
TBI also took legal action against Digicel over the provision of the long-distance service which resulted in a judge ordering it be halted until a hearing at the Supreme Court next month.
“We have not jumped the regulatory gun,” said Mr Caines.
“In this same calender year we have seen the creation or amalgamation of M3 Wireless and CellularOne, a whole new entity.
“And this year North Rock indicated that they will offer through their present services mobile telephone services to their customers.
“We have consistently looked at the market and asked the Ministers when the regulatory process would take place and have waited.
“We applied and were granted a licence we didn’t jump the queue.”
Mr Caines said he viewed the new internet service as a good opportunity to strengthen the company’s offering and to look for other openings in the market place.
He said that in the short space of time since it was launched there had been a lot of interest and trade in the company’s retail stores had been “brisk”.
Asked if he thought Digicel’s latest offering would spark a price war, Mr Caines replied that he expected some movement from his competitors, ultimately resulting in the customer getting better value for money.
“I believe that these are the best rates available in Bermuda currently,” he said.
Mr Caines said that while the Transact operation remained in its offices in the IBM Building in Dundonald Street, there had been some movement throughout Digicel’s offices as the company looked to expand its offering including the hire of new staff and the training of Digicel’s retail and customer care staff in the new service.
“In terms of Digicel Internet we are looking to continue to diversify and allow the customer to enjoy faster speeds and more value,” he said.
Confident that Digicel would pick up business from its rivals as a result of the new offering, Mr Caines added: “We can’t focus on our detractors.
“We can give them a blueprint on how to run a successful company and we hope that they will follow our successes.
“Regulatory reform appears to be taking place and we support it. But we believe that any cost associated with it has to be considered very carefully by the Bermuda Government.”
Mr Caines said that due to the ever-changing nature of the sector, Digicel had to evolve with it while taking into account and operating within the letter of the law.
He said that he was confident the company would be able to continue selling its long-distance service, with the existing customers who had signed up for it prior to the injunction continuing to receive the service.
Diana Winfield, head of marketing and customer operations at Logic, said that her company would not be launching a new offering in direct response to Digicel’s service, but added that there were some special deals in the pipeline.
“Logic Communications is always looking to add value to our offerings,” she said. “We have positioned an offer that will be highly competitive with the Digicel offer although it will not be a direct price match. We ask our customers to stay tuned as we are well known for offering quality service and competitive prices.”
There was no response from Government by press time.
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