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Digicel disappointed after court throws out challenge to OUR

Thursday, July 12, 2012 | 12:09 PM    

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — Telecommunications company Digicel said today it was “disappointed” with the ruling by the Supreme Court to refuse the company’s application seeking leave to proceed with its judicial review claim against the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

Digicel had been seeking to challenge the OUR’s determination establishing an interim mobile termination rate.

The effect of the court ruling is that the OUR determination will come into effect on July 15.

The OUR cut mobile termination rates — which dictate how much one company pays the other when a customer calls that network — from $9 per minute to $5 last month.

This resulted in rival LIME reducing its rate to $2.99 per minute, and Digicel following suit with $2.89.

“To be clear, Digicel’s issue was not with the rates but with the way in which the process was handled in that the OUR determination was made in breach of the principles of natural justice and procedural fairness due to the OUR’s failure to engage in any consultation,” Digicel insisted.

Richard Fraser, head of legal and regulatory affairs, said the company maintained that the OUR “ought to have adhered to the principles of natural justice” and carried out some form of prior consultation on the issue before issuing its determination.

“Unfortunately, the court did not agree with our view of the law,” Fraser said.

“We still harbour concerns regarding the unfettered powers granted to the regulator and intend to review matters with respect to same.”

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