Tribunal directs ICCC to review prices

National, Normal

AN Appeals Tribunal has directed the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission to reconsider the new mobile termination rates which were applied recently.
After the new termination rates became effective, bemobile and Telikom appealed to the tribunal to review the ICCC ruling.
They claimed the rates were still too high, and favoured Digicel.
A tribunal heard the appeal, and early this week directed ICCC to reconsider its decision on the termination rates for the mobile to mobile calls, and the rates for SMS between mobile phone users.
It is understood ICCC informed both bemobile and Digicel of the tribunal’s decision, and gave them until close of business today to make submissions for them to look at.
When asked to comment on this decision, bemobile CEO Roger Blott said ICCC should do more to bring down the rates for the good of the consumer and the industry.
“We have been fighting for much lower termination rates and the ICCC has ignored our arguments in favour of the supposed ‘high’ costs of termination on the Digicel network.
“Now we see that Digicel is prepared to offer termination on its network to its own customers for 11 toea a minute, but the ICCC expects bemobile to pay 39 toea a minute to Digicel.  Where’s the logic in that?” Mr Blott asked.
“We have a situation today where bemobile customers pay 49 toea a minute to call Digicel and bemobile is expected by the ICCC to pay almost all of this to Digicel. 
“Digicel customers pay a huge K1.70 per minute and Digicel keeps well over K1 for itself. 
“It seems that Digicel is ripping off its own customers on calls to bemobile, and the ICCC is ripping off bemobile on calls to Digicel. 
“For the consumers and the industry, the ICCC has to take action to reduce these termination rates and bring some order.”
Digicel’s CEO John Mangos said the appeals panel had effectively agreed with the interconnection rates set by the ICCC, and praised panel member Dr Rhonda Smith for her work.
“Dr Rhonda Smith of the appeal panel is a hugely respected international arbitrator, having been a Commissioner of the Australian telecoms regulator for almost five years.”