Digicel / LIME Landline Dispute Referred to the Barbados Fair Trading Commission

{Editor’s Note – This is not the first time seeming blockage has come to judicial fisticuffs between the two providers here in Barbados, in late 2004 Digicel had developed its own satellite service stationed at Wildey to reduce overseas calls’ fees, but they accused then Cable & Wireless of preventing speedier facilitation of this form of routing since when the market opened in February that same year – texting between networks was not immediately available and any international dialling was still via C&W}

The Fair Trading Commission has been asked to promptly intervene in a dispute between Digicel and LIME relating to Digicel’s proposed launch of a landline network and services to compete with LIME’s monopoly on landline services in Barbados.

Digicel was awarded a full Domestic Services Licence by the Government of Barbados on 22nd August 2012. This licence allowed Digicel to provide the full range of landline services in Barbados. Following receipt of this licence, Digicel immediately engaged with LIME with a view to effecting the necessary changes to the Interconnection Agreement between the parties to allow Digicel to provide such landline services.

Digicel has been unable to secure agreement with LIME in relation to the interconnection rates regime to apply to Digicel’s new landline services. After a lengthy period of inconclusive negotiations, the matter has now been referred to the FTC for a prompt resolution.

{FILE IMAGE} Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien commented; “Digicel is determined to bring real, effective competition to the landline market in Barbados. We are proud of having revolutionised the mobile phone market in Barbados following our launch in 2004. We have established our credentials as the leading mobile provider in Barbados and across the Caribbean. I am sure that the people of Barbados still remember the bad old days of the Cable and Wireless monopoly. It is high time to tackle the remaining landline monopoly. This is what this process is about”.

{FILE IMAGE} Digicel CEO Barry O’Brien commented; “Digicel is determined to bring real, effective competition to the landline market in Barbados. We are proud of having revolutionised the mobile phone market in Barbados following our launch in 2004. We have established our credentials as the leading mobile provider in Barbados and across the Caribbean. I am sure that the people of Barbados still remember the bad old days of the Cable and Wireless monopoly. It is high time to tackle the remaining landline monopoly. This is what this process is about”.

Digicel is insistent that it be allowed to compete with LIME on a level playing field. It stands to reason that Digicel must be allowed to enjoy the same termination rates regime for its own landline services as LIME enjoys. LIME however does not appear to agree with this principle.

According to O’Brien; “We are determined to shake up the landline market – but we can only do so if LIME will compete fairly with us. It is very disappointing, but frankly unsurprising, that LIME has adopted the stance that it has and refused to agree to a fair rates regime. LIME wants one rule for itself and a different rule for everyone else. The people of Barbados deserve a truly competitive market for landline services. Digicel will engage fully with the FTC to ensure that this public interest objective is met.”

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