Telecoms rules are clear to us, say Digicels rivals
The Islands telecoms industry yesterday weighed in on the war of words being waged in the media over Digicels controversial launch of international long distance, saying that Telecoms policy was clear to them.
We are at a loss to explain how the Government and Digicel now find themselves at loggerheads over a long distance issue, North Rock said in a statement to The Royal Gazette.
Another major player in the industry said they were deeply concerned that Telecoms regulatory issues were being played out in the court of public opinion and there did not appear to be a level playing field for providers currently.
Others in the telecoms industry, who did not want to be named, said Digicels decision to take its fight with Government public could harm the company. The Minister of Infrastructure Strategy Marc Bean, who on Friday in Parliament gave a lengthy statement slamming Digicel for making harmful and dangerous allegations in the media, has said a decision on any action he will take on Digicel ILD, if any, could come this month.
An industry member noted: The Telecommunications Commission has issued to the Minister, in correspondence dated May 18th 2012, its findings with regard to the ILD services being offered by Digicel and/or Transact. The Minister now has to make a determination if he is going to act on those findings or even act at all. The recent statements and actions by Digicel may not have helped them (Digicel) in this regard.
We reported last month that the Telecoms Commission had advised Government that it found Digicel and Transact were not in compliance with their licences.
Digicel has accused Government of making a dramatic u-turn on its decision to allow it to provide international long distance service, causing it to suffer enormous reputational damage.
But North Rock commented: The policies governing telecommunications were clear enough, so that the industry functioned without major contention for the past ten years, whether we all agreed with the policies or not.
The only way we can now comment is to reiterate how all other Bermuda carriers have been permitted to operate over the past years. That is that all International Long Distance traffic from the so called Class B carriers, including the mobile carriers and BTC, has been required to be routed through the switch of a Class A carrier (TeleBermuda or LinkBermuda).
ISPs were allowed to provide international long distance (VOIP), but were specifically barred by Government policy from providing long distance services to Mobile carriers.
This policy was specifically to the benefit of the revenue streams of the foreign-owned Class A carriers and to the detriment of the local ISPs. Those have been the policies. Furthermore, it was stated by the Ministry that no changes in policy would occur until the new regulatory changes came into effect.
Another industry member said Digicel should have questioned the letter it received from Government particularly with regards to mobile customers: Digicel knew that IF the letter indeed allowed Transact to now sell ILD to mobile customers that this amounted to a licence change which could only be approved by the Minister himself which it wasnt.
And this would be a licence change that no other ISP had and was contrary to how all mobile carriers had operated up until then, ie they could not/did not use the ISPs for ILD.
The industry member said one big concern is how Telecoms approved the use of the Digicel brand for selling Transacts ILD and internet services.
The services technically are being offered under two separate legal entities with separate licences ... eg, KeyTech is prohibited from cobranding all of its services ... so its odd how they allowed that.
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