Regional telecoms firm loses legal appeal

| 21/01/2010

Cayman Islands News, Grand Cayman local news, court news, LIME, Digicel(CNS): Digicel has lost the latest round in the battle with its regional telecoms rival LIME following the Privy Council’s dismissal of its appeal today, Thursday 21 January. The appeal concerned a decision by the Jamaican Court of Appeal in 2007 which resulted in the firm having to pay over US $3.7 million to its competitor Cable & Wireless Jamaica (since renamed LIME). The 2007 Court of Appeal decision related to a determination made by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR) on termination rates for calls from fixed lines to mobile phones. Digicel appealed that determination to the Privy Council, which was dismissed this morning in London. LIME’s CEO said the decision supported the independence of the Jamaican regulator.

“LIME is very pleased with today’s decision of the Privy Council,” said CEO David Shaw. “LIME always believed that Digicel’s case was baseless and was just another clear demonstration of their litigious nature as, once again, they tried to use the courts to circumvent what are generally accepted norms in the telecommunications industry worldwide.”

He said that LIME had intervened in the litigation because of the company’s belief that the independence of the regulator is critical for the future of the Jamaican telecoms industry. The firm also maintains that it was vital for fair competition and consumer protection that the regulator was able to step in and regulate the rates that the regulated fixed network paid to the unregulated mobile network forcall termination. “The ruling is a clear indication that – at its highest levels – the justice system also recognises these facts," Shaw added.

Geoff Houston, Country Manager in Jamaica, said the real winners in this case were the Jamaican customers. “LIME will continue its efforts, in every sphere, to fight for the rights of the customer and for a level playing field in the telecoms sector in Jamaica,” Houston promised. “We certainly hope that the ruling will also provide the platform for the Regulator to now appropriately address other aspects of mobile regulation in a manner that will create a more level playing field for the Jamaican industry, especially as it relates to the issue of high cross network call charges.”

LIME was represented at the Privy Council by attorneys from the firm of Myers, Fletcher & Gordon. So far there has been no public statement from Digicel.

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