TRC issues final decision regarding Digicel, LIME anti-competitive conduct

2 Jul 2012

British Virgin Islands’ (BVI) watchdog the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) has announced that it has issued final decisions relating to its investigations into the anti-competitive behaviour of mobile operators Digicel and LIME towards CCT Global Communications. The TRC, in accordance with Section 75 of the Telecommunications Act, has concluded that the duo’s respective pan-Caribbean offers, ‘Caribbean Calling’ (Digicel) and ‘All Talk’ (LIME), constitute an ‘anti-competitive margin squeeze on CCT’. As such, both parties were ordered to cease the anti-competitive behaviour and pay a fine by 30 June 2012, although the TRC stopped short of forcing Digicel to withdraw the offending plan from the market altogether.

Ayana Hull, chairman of the TRC, commented: ‘The problem is that CCT cannot offer the same product as Digicel BVI because they cannot access Digicel’s Caribbean networks on the same terms as Digicel BVI. It appears anti-competitive that Digicel BVI’s customers can call Digicel’s Caribbean networks for a retail price which is far below the wholesale price that CCT must pay to access Digicel’s Caribbean networks. If Digicel BVI offered similar wholesale terms to CCT, then both would be able to offer cheap calls to Digicel Caribbean networks and there would be no need for Digicel BVI to withdraw their Caribbean plans. Digicel (BVI) could also revise the terms of the Caribbean plans for their customers which we hope they will consider’. Guy Malone, CEO of the TRC added that the regulator was forced to intervene because the plans ‘impact the long term competitive dynamic of the BVI mobile market’.