FTC starts investigation into telecommunication companies
The Fair Trading Commission (FTC) is in the process of investigating a number of alleged
anti-competitive practices involving telecommunication companies here.
In its 2013 annual report the FTC said it started a number of investigations into complaints
against Digicel (Barbados), TeleBarbados (now Columbus), and Cable & Wireless (Barbados)
Limited, which trades as LIME (Barbados).
The complaints ranged from refusal to supply to “price squeezing”. The report examined the
period April 2012 to March 31, 2013.
It said in the case of Digicel, Wi-Connect wrote to the FTC alleging that Digicel was refusing
to provide it with the necessary connectivity to deliver two-way messaging mobile subscribers
across the Caribbean. The FTC said it “commenced review of this matter”.
Also on the issue of refusal to supply, Sunbeach Communications Inc. complained that
Columbus had refused to supply wholesale dedicated Internet access to Sunbeach.
“The commission is also investigating this complaint,” said the report.
The FTC said it had requested “relevant information” regarding the merger acquisition of
Karib Cable by Columbus International and was awaiting responses from both parties.
It explained: “[D]uring the month of March 2013 Columbus International indicated that
they were in the process of acquiring controlling interests in Karib Cable. Under the Fair
Competition Act notification of a merger is required if the enterprise by itself or together
with any other enterprise with which it intends to merge controls not less than 40 per cent of
“However, where companies do not reach that threshold but are operating in markets
in which the merger is likely to have a significant impact on a large number of consumers,
the commission will ask for information to satisfy itself that the merger is not likely to harm
competition, consumers or the Barbados economy”.
Efforts to get an expected date of completion for those investigations were futile. However, it
is anticipated that the outcome of those investigations would be published in the next report.
As it related to consumer complaints against
utility companies for the April 2012 to March
31, 2013 period, there were 38 against LIME
and 13 against the Barbados Light & Power
Company (BL&P). This compared to 43 against
LIME and 22 against BL&P in the previous year.