LIME lashes back

LIME’s Country Manager, Alex McDonald
LIME’s Country Manager, Alex McDonald

Telecommunications giant LIME is blaming competitor Digicel for the latter’s failure to secure an interconnection with it.

In a statement issued late this evening, in response to one released days ago by Digicel, LIME said it was offering Digicel exactly what it is required to under the rules, which is what it offers other “fixed operators” but “Digicel refuses to accept these FTC-approved prices”.

“Interconnection is regulated,” LIME said, “which means all contract terms and interconnect rates are approved by the FTC. In addition, carriers have to comply with interconnection principles in the Barbados Telecommunications Act. These conditions include: transparency, non-discrimination and equal pricing among carriers.

“The current interconnection terms and rates for fixed networks were approved by the FTC after a public consultation, in which Digicel participated.”

The statement from LIME’s Head of Marketing and Corporate Communications, Rachel Pilgrim, added: “Digicel and LIME already have an FTC-approved interconnection agreement dealing with the exchange of mobile traffic. Since September 2012, Digicel and LIME have been negotiating changes to this agreement necessary to help Digicel launch its fixed services.

“LIME is offering the terms and rates it is required to offer under interconnection rules; these are exactly the same as it offers other fixed operators in Barbados. Digicel refuses to accept these FTC-approved prices.

“LIME cannot agree to Digicel’s request because to do so would breach interconnection rules and would mean that LIME is discriminating in favour of Digicel, and to the disadvantage of other fixed carriers, which is against the law.

“Although the interconnection rules are very clear, Digicel has refused to change its position. LIME asked the FTC to help resolve this dispute. There is a standard procedure for these types of disputes and LIME referred the matter in the ordinary way.”

According to LIME, “Digicel has decided that it can’t wait for the FTC to resolve this dispute in the normal way and publicly called for the FTC to intervene”.

It suggested that Digicel’s statements, reported in the media on 23 January 2013, contain a number of factual inaccuracies.

“The facts are:

* LIME is offering fair rates: LIME is offering Digicel the interconnection rates that are mandated by the FTC. It is against the law for LIME to offer any other rates for fixed interconnection services.

* LIME is competing fairly: LIME is committed to principles of non-discrimination and treating all carriers equally. LIME does not want, and is not seeking, any special or preferential treatment.

* LIME is not a monopoly: Barbados fully liberalised in 2005; there has been competition in fixed and mobile ever since. LIME does not have any exclusive rights.

* LIME is complying with its licence, the FTC rules and the telecom laws and regulations of Barbados. All of these govern the way carriers interconnect and LIME is following these rules to the letter.”

LIME’s Country Manager, Alex McDonald, commented:

“LIME and other fixed line carriers interconnect at rates approved by the FTC. The law requires LIME to offer the same rates to all carriers. Digicel is asking for special treatment outside of the FTC regime which would discriminate against other fixed line carriers. We don’t think that is fair or right. We have offered Digicel the same rates that we have offered others and that are approved by FTC.” (RRM)

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