Digicel Responds To Minister, Release Letter

June 9, 2012

Digicel released a copy of the Government’s letter to them, and responded to what they termed an “acerbic statement” by Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy Marc Bean in the House of Assembly yesterday [June 8].

The two entities are presently embroiled in a dispute over Digicel’s ability to provide International Long Distance services. This dispute involves other local telecommunications providers and is currently before the Courts.

On Thursday [June 7] Digicel said they believe Government has “acted appallingly” and has “victimised Digicel by rescinding the approvals granted.”

Minister Bean responded to Digicel’s statement in the House of Assembly, calling their statement “harmful, unsubstantiated and self-serving.”

“Although I do not wish to follow along the same sad path as Digicel and attempt to usurp the dignity of our Courts, I am obliged to set the record straight, as the personal and dangerous allegations and statements of Digicel cannot be allowed to stand without a response,” said Minister Bean yesterday.

The latest statement from Digicel said, “Following the acerbic statement by the Hon. Marc A. R. Bean, JP, MP, Minister of Environment, Planning and Infrastructure Strategy this morning (delivered under the protection of Parliamentary Privilege), Digicel wishes to restate the simple and inarguable fact that it received express approval from the Government to purchase Transact for the purpose of selling ILD services.

“This same Government is now defaulting on its express approval and is pretending as if this approval never happened,” Digicel said.

“As such, Digicel feels it is necessary at this point to publicly share a letter [PDF] dated October 20th 2011, issued to it by the Government, which expressly records and confirms the approval granted to Digicel to provide ILD services over VOIP using Transact’s class C license.

A screenshot of portion of the letter is below:

“This letter is irrefutable evidence supporting Digicel’s view that it is being treated unfairly. This is why Digicel has “sought to cast doubt” on the decisions of the Government which, on the one hand, approved the acquisition of Transact for the purpose of selling ILD services, and on the other hand, has sought to now block the provision of such ILD services.

“Digicel would like to ask why did the Minister completely side-step and ignore this issue in his statement this morning – the issue at the very crux of Digicel’s case.

“By giving Digicel express Government permission and then challenging its own approval, Digicel believes members of this Government are acting with a bizarre and troubling inconsistency.

“Digicel has no issue with a legal challenge, but when such a challenge is based on inaccuracies and misinformation, Digicel has a right to defend itself and has an obligation to defend its customers.

“Over the last 12 years, Digicel has built a reputation across every market in which it operates as being a champion of competition and the consumer, and it does not apologise for taking a position contrary to the Bermuda Government in order to defend this hard-earned reputation.

“Further, Digicel is speaking in the public domain simply because it is necessary at this point to defend our reputation which, over the last nine months, has been gravely damaged both locally and internationally by the Bermuda Government through its actions,” the statement said.

“Since Digicel’s launch of ILD services, the costs of international calls have dropped 66% – benefiting Bermudian customers. This is not the act of a dominant player – rather the champion of competition which fundamentally benefits Bermudian consumers and businesses.

Digicel’s statement concluded by saying, “The question, Minister, is simply this – did the Government approve Digicel/Transact’s ILD service? Your letter says you did.”

The letter provided by Digicel is below:

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Comments (27)

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  1. terry says:

    Whats the differance between Digicel and Stem Cell.

  2. longtail says:

    This letter is very clear regarding ILD/VOIP… does Government’s right hand not know what the left hand has already done???? Poor – or indeed the lack of any – leadership comes right from the top of this Government!

    • Concerned Citizen says:

      The letter is clear re Transact! Not Digicel!

      • Mad Dawg says:

        Did you fail to read the bit that said services would be offered “under the Digicel brand”?

    • allcloggedup says:

      the letter says that Transact can do ILD (as they always have under current law) FOR FIXED LINE ONLY…..Caines and his employer are scratching where it doesn’t itch….FIXED LINE ONLY, NOT MOBILE!

      • Pastor Syl says:

        @ allcloggedup: Perhaps you read a different letter than I did. I went back and re-read the one attached to this article three (3) times and did not see anything about “fixed line only” in it.

  3. Rick Rock says:

    Looks like another government flip flop. Bean is waaaay out of his depth. He should go back to trying to legalize pot and pit bulls. He’s more at home with those subjects. He should leave the telecoms stuff to the grown ups.

  4. Bermywan says:

    This government is beyond retarded….

  5. jt says:

    I ain’t no lawyer – but gov’t is looking pretty inept (again).

  6. Rockfish #1and#2 says:

    Marc Bean really should do his homework properly. This letter makes him and the Government look silly and incompetent. Again!

  7. Fisherman says:

    time to go back to fishing

  8. Concerned Citizen says:

    My understanding is that even after an interconnection agreement was signed and produced, the actual placement of the call by transact still must be routed through a class A carrier…..Tbi, link, etc. The question Digicel ask is more of a marketing(branding) issue then a technical issue. That’s where the grey area is IMHO, and the government is responsible for this. But the law, as is, with the respective classes of license, speaks to the technical arrangements, not marketing which is secondary. That is why CellOne initially rejected Digicels “offer”, as it was outside the scope of their license, which is a reality that applies to Digicel, and Digicel knows this. By acquiring transact, Digicel have now sought to act as if they are now one operating company, with the ability to combine each license as under Digicel, and thus circumvent the rules of not having subscribers dial the 20-20 prefix when making ILD/VOIP. Their request for clarification reveals their intent to press the envelope. This seems to be the case as the letter clearly emphasizes the need for an interconnection aggrement to be signed, as there are separate licenses. Btw, this is not a new rule as all licensed providers know these rules, as they are the status quo. I think Digicel is over-playing their hand by making this a public media campaign, and I suspect that they are fearful of the commission and or courts ruling against them. But……time will tell.

  9. sharky says:

    Oop’s….you got some splainin’ to do Marc
    Digicel have the boys up the hill right by the things you hit on a golf course!!

  10. Verbal Kint says:

    I think Concerned Citizen has it right, but I’m no lawyer. I think the answer to who is wrong in this case is “both sides”. So now the courts decide who pays whom.

  11. kyle says:

    i was just thinking, why would digicel go through all this? i dont think any company wants to apply resources to these kinds of public scraps, especially with a government. they seem pretty pissed. i got a feeling they have been done wrong by. confuses me as this government has such a strong record of acting ethically towards the business community…and budget spending discipline. such a joke with these lot…

  12. Totally Confused..... says:

    Am I the only one confused here…. In reading all of these comments the one thing nobody seems to be addressing is the “VoIP Only” part of the letter. If I am not mistakened, VoIP is like a skype, vonage or magic jack service. Is this what Digicel is offering?????

  13. insideman says:

    @ totally confused: yes, digicel ild is voip. the lettee from gov says go ahead with voip but the minister says something else…

  14. kevin says:

    The letter says the permission is conditional but Digicel has not shown where they met the conditions and most of you are assuming that they did!

    • sharky says:

      Don’t be silly.
      Of course that condidtion was met.
      I’m sure there are many more documents yet to be released.

      • kevin says:

        You must work for Digicel and read minds – how else could you be so sure. What we the public know is that three entities (govt., TBI and Cellone) all say Digicel is wrong but YOU know different!

  15. Mad Dawg says:

    This is symptomatic of the way the government deals with business.

    Reminds me of the ‘cement’ scandal.

  16. Not surprised says:

    Hey Caines, did you give the gov’t the terms and conditions of the billing arrangement they asked for? Did you think some of the public wouldn’t understand the legal jargon so you threw this out at us? Painting a partial picture to suit your case should be left to the court rooms for dramatic effect. As for the government, I hope whoever gave digicel the “inch” so they could take a mile has been reprimanded. This whole thing sounds too much like unruly kids playing in a sandbox.

  17. Latest news says:

    This just in, Mr Bean on telephones:

    http://i45.tinypic.com/fnz9yu.gif

  18. just asking says:

    What about when Digicel does something illegal to any of their customers? Are they willing to compensate? If you live in a glass house dont throw stones Digicel seems to notice when they feel wrong done by but dont want to notice when they are in the wrong smh

    • sharky says:

      Give an example of something illegal that Digicel may of done.
      What about building a new library at a local school?
      What about employees cleaning trash from our roads?
      What about supplying free phones to charities like the Salvation Army.
      What about donating 5000 to the school breakfast program so kids don’t go hungry.
      Do you catch my drift.
      “Just Asking ?”

  19. Johnny says:

    Nowhere in the letter does it say it is a done deal, that’s like showing a quote (not a receipt) as proof of purchase.