Digicel ordered to lift blockade

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THE National Court has ordered Digicel to lift the interconnection blockage it has applied in the last few days between the users of bemobile and itself.
The court said the dispute between the two parties could be solved without affecting its users through the blockage.
Justice Graham Ellis granted the mandatory injunction, compelling Digicel to uplift the blockage it imposed yesterday afternoon following an urgent ex parte application by bemobile.
The court also ruled that the inter partes’ hearing on the matter returns before the same judge next Wednesday.
Lawyer for bemobile Allan Mana of Allens Arthur Robinson submitted that the imposition of such blockage by Digicel was affecting users who were being deprived the interconnection service.
In other words, bemobile users were having difficulties connecting with Digicel users because Digicel was blocking calls.
Mr Mana based his arguments on an affidavit by bemobile acting chief executive officer John Papazian.
Digicel had blocked calls after it claimed that Telikom and bemobile refused to pay bills amounting to millions of kina. But bemobile said it was not obliged to pay under current arrangement and went to court.
In court, Mr Mana said when the interconnection agreement was signed, bemobile was not a party to it and, therefore, could not be affected or made to suffer.
The interconnection rates determined on June 12, 2008, expired on June 11 last year. These were extended to last Dec 31 by ICCC, and further extended to June 11 this year.
“bemobile and Digicel (PNG) Ltd are continuing with commercial discussions for direct interconnection and consequent rates,” Mr Mana said.