Digicel Haiti, the country’s largest cellco in terms of subscribers, has announced that a number of ‘unauthorised’ voice-over-internet protocol (VoIP) applications have been blocked by its network, starting on 17 June 2014. The operator has noted that VoIP applications such as Viber, Tango and Nimbuzz do not pay contributions for routing their traffic over telecoms operators’ networks. Digicel said that it ‘was forced to take effective measures and hopes that other operators will follow suit in Haiti’. Further, the cellco has revealed that negotiations with VoIP providers are ongoing, and notes that it hopes the blocking measures will be temporary.
Digicel Haiti’s CEO Maarten Boute said: ‘It is time for us to act to protect our business, our customers and the integrity of our service and ensure that the Haitian government gets the money it is owed… Two things are important to us: our customers and the service we provide; it is unfortunate that we were forced to take this action and we apologise to our customers for the inconvenience, but it is in order to [convince] VoIP operators to agree to pay a reasonable price for the services they take for free … these VoIP operators should be forced to pay their share.’