Letters to the Editor

Now that the mobile playing field is level...

Sunday, June 24, 2012    

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Dear Editor,

I used to think that LIME was just whining because it did not know how to compete, but the occurrences of the past 10 days in the mobile space clearly demonstrate that this was not so.

LIME has been saying for years that if it got a fair regulatory playing field it would bring mobile rates down for the benefit of consumers. And as soon as the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) lowered the mobile termination rate, LIME fulfilled its promise with its landmark $2.99 per minute rate on its own network. ($1.99 for post-paid) and $6.99 per minute cross network.

What does Digicel do? Well, firstly, it takes the OUR to court claiming that the OUR does not have the legal right to set the rates and that this would cause the company financial and reputational damage. Then, last Friday, Digicel rolls out a $2.89 per minute rate. Hmmm... what about that financial and reputational damage that low rates would cause?

Well, that's easy to explain. LIME's rates are a permanent offer; Digicel's is a promotion. In addition, Digicel is billing customers by the minute, LIME is billing per second. Check it for yourself. So, for example, a 30-second call on Digicel's network billed per minute costs $2.89; on LIME that same call costs about half of that.

Customers also need to check the cost of Digicel's international offering which gives 25 minutes free, after the first five minutes-billed per minute. The cost of the first five minutes is almost five times the cost with LIME's $2.99 rate.

Digicel has been charging high rates, higher than any other network, for years. Many Jamaicans just could not see it. But not this time. The company has laid itself bare and everyone can see for themselves.

The Emperor has no clothes.

Donovan Davis

Kingston 8

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