JAMES APA GUMUNO
MOBILE phone company bemobile has accused the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) of resisting their push to lower prices by setting the mobile termination rate so high.
Chairman of bemobile Anthony Smare said bemobile consistently argued that mobile termination rates, which were first set in June last year by ICCC, were very high and impeded effective competition.
He said the new rates announced recently changed little, and they would challenge the ICCC’s decision at the appropriate forum.
Mr Smare made these remarks during the launching of bemobile’s new rates at Wepmul village in Mt Hagen on Saturday.
He said high termination interconnection rate was not in the best interest of the people in the country because it kept call costs high.
Mr Smare said that while bemobile lowered its rates for every call from bemobile to Digicel, all call costs had to be paid to Digicel.
He said the termination rate should only be a fraction of the price of the call, not all of it.
Mr Smare said the ICCC’s bad decision had been unfair to bemobile, and had meant more money was paid to a foreign-owned network.
“I recently read about Digicel claiming that it doesn’t want other operator to get a free ride on its network because it has invested so much money.
“Well, bemobile is investing just as much money as Digicel and our charges are less.
“I don’t think this is a case of not wanting to give others a free ride but instead they are taking the country for a ride,” he said.
Mr Smare said that people in the country needed and deserved lower prices and they would do it on behalf of the people.