BTC and CBL battle over fixed voice termination

13 Mar 2014

Fixed line incumbent Bahamas Telecommunications Company (BTC) has come out in support of sector watchdog the Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority’s (URCA’s) plans to remove asymmetry in fixed line voice termination fees, Tribune 242 writes. BTC has long advocated symmetrical termination rates, claiming that its customers are subsidising its main rival Cable Bahamas Ltd (CBL). Marlon Johnson, BTC’s senior vice-president, explained: ‘At present, for on-island calls, Cable Bahamas charges BTC more than twice as much for a BTC customer to call a Cable Bahamas number (1.98 cents per minute) than BTC charges Cable Bahamas for the latter’s customer to make a call to a BTC number (0.93 cents per minute).’ Johnson added that there was ‘no justification’ for the asymmetry, and that setting equal termination rates ‘creates a level playing field and minimises the opportunities for an operator to manipulate asymmetry of rates to gain an unfair advantage.’

Unsurprisingly, CBL was opposed to the proposals, claiming that as it does not hold significant market power (SMP) in the voice termination market, it should not be required to pay the same fee as the SMP player, BTC. David Burrows, CBL’s head of marketing noted: ‘If there was a 50/50 split in market ownership, that would be a different scenario, but we’re not.’

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