October 29, 2020

Cable and Wireless/Columbus “monopoly” worries Caribbean telecoms ministers

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Screen Shot 2014-12-06 at 1.49.08 PMFrom The Guardian T&T

CASTRIES, St Lucia – Telecommunication ministers from the Eastern Caribbean will work with T&T industry authorities to protect the region’s consumers.

Telecommunication ministers from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) say the proposed acquisition by British telecommunications company, Cable and Wireless () of , would result in the formation of a monopoly in the sub-region.

The ministers met in Saint Lucia on Thursday to discuss the fallout of the proposed deal.

According to the host Telecommunications Minister Dr James Fletcher, the meeting agreed that the merger would create a monopoly in the provision of fixed network services.

“We have agreed to join with the Telecommunication Authority of Trinidad and Tobago in the conduct of an analysis to see how this impact on our region and how we can ensure the rights of our consumers are safeguarded, that prices do not go up, that access to services that are affected primarily by this merger, which is fixed broadband, subscriber cable television and fixed telephony that those prices don’t go up.”

He said the ministers also felt that the choices available to consumers are not eroded “and that there is a continuation of fair play in the telecommunication sector”.

Last month, the Eastern Caribbean Telecommunications Authority (Ectel) warned that both CWC and Columbus Communications could be in breach of their licenses if they engage in activities, which can unfairly prevent, restrict, or distort competition.

It said that in reviewing the preliminary information available on the planned purchase, under the current regulatory regime, telecommunications license holders including CWC and Columbus maybe in breach of their licenses.

“The decision to combine business by the two companies can have a negative impact on the telecoms sector and this has provided further impetus for the revision of existing legislation and rules governing competition in the sector, including the proposed new Electronic Communications Bill,” Ectel statement read in part.

Grenada’s Communication Minister Gregory Bowen said Ectel has been informed of the proposed merger, but warns that if the deal goes through the two entities would need to apply for new licences to operate in the sub-region.

“None of these in the proposed merger has applied to any of the governments of the Ectel states for a licence to operate in the merged environment,” said Bowen, who is also Ectel’s chairman.

“Although the licence they operate under provides that anytime you merge in a manner that will reduce competition you should apply.

“And so with all the statements made and the announcement made throughout the world, an application has not been made,” he added. (CMC)

For more on this story go to: http://www.guardian.co.tt/technology/2014-12-05/cable-and-wirelesscolumbus-“monopoly”-worries-caribbean-telecoms-ministers

See also iNews Cayman related stories:

24 2014 “CWC-Columbus heads East for talks over ECTEL concerns” at: https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/cwc-columbus-heads-east-for-talks-over-ectel-concerns/

Published December 3 2014 “Columbus Networks awarded “2014 Best Caribbean Wholesale Carrier” at: https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/columbus-networks-awarded-2014-best-caribbean-wholesale-carrier/

Published November 6 2014 “Cable & Wireless shares plunge following announcement it will buy Columbus” at: https://www.ieyenews.com/wordpress/cable-wireless-shares-plunge-following-announcement-it-will-buy-columbus/

 

 

 

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