Cable Bahamas has urged regulators to intervene in its long-running dispute over the Bahamas Telecommunications Company’s (BTC) alleged ‘blocking’ of calls to international mobile roaming customers, demanding that it provide call termination on a “cost oriented basis”.
Responding to a Utilities Regulation and Competition Authority (URCA) call termination consultation, the BISX-listed communications provider alleged that
BTC had either blocked calls from its network to international mobile users, or “proposed excessive rates” to terminate the calls on its cellular system.
This, Cable Bahamas argued, went against the newly-privatised carrier’s wholesaler interconnection service obligations.
And, not done yet, Cable Bahamas also urged URCA to differentiate between call termination (interconnection) fees and transit fees.
BTC charges both, with the latter applying to calls from other carriers that it has to carry on its network prior to reaching the intended customer.
Cable Bahamas is arguing that BTC’s transit fees, levied on itself and other rivals to the incumbent, are “clearly excessive” given that they are much higher than its interconnection/call termination fees.
Urging URCA to clarify that cellular/mobile call termination includes calls made to international roaming customers via BTC’s network, Cable Bahamas alleged that efforts to negotiate a commercial agreement on the issue had failed.
“As URCA is likely aware, Cable Bahamas (via its affiliate Systems Resource Group) has been involved in a lengthy dispute with BTC regarding the termination of calls to roaming mobile customers on BTC’s mobile network and, to date, has been unable to reach a commercial agreement with BTC to terminate such roaming mobile traffic,” the BISX-listed company said.
“In effect, BTC has refused to supply call termination services to roaming customers despite the fact it is required to do so under its wholesale interconnection service obligations.
“In the context of its decision in this proceeding, Cable Bahamas submits that URCA should confirm that mobile termination services do, in fact, include calls to all mobile numbers, including roaming mobile customers on BTC’s mobile network, and direct BTC to provide the service on an economic, cost oriented basis.”
Suggesting that BTC, as the incumbent, had “a strong incentive” to refuse to supply services to rival operators to protect its “dominant market position”, Cable Bahamas argued that the mobile roaming call termination situation illustrated the point.
“The incentive to refuse supply in the case of the incumbent is illustrated by Cable Bahamas’ ongoing dispute with BTC to terminate call traffic to roaming mobile customers on BTC’s network,” it added.
By Neil Hartnell
Tribune Business Editor