SOLOMONS TELECOM CHALLENGES NEW COMPETITOR

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HONIARA, Solomon Islands (Solomon Star, November 10) – Solomons Telekom is challenging the Government in court over its intentions to amend the exclusive license to allow for more competitors in the country.

General Manager Martyn Robinson confirmed that a challenge is now before court but with few details.

"We are taking legal action to defend our licenses against regulator (telecommunications authority)," Mr Robinson told the Solomon Star yesterday.

The Kemazeka Government granted the 15 years exclusive telecommunication license to Telekom in 2003.

[PIR editor’s note: Solomon Telekom Company Limited (Telekom), is a joint venture company between Solomon Island's National Provident Fund, (SINPF) which hold 64.74 percent of the shares, and Cable & Wireless Plc of the United Kingdom, which holds 32.58 percent of shares and the Investment Corporation of the Solomon Islands (ICSI), which owns 2.68 percent of the shares. ]

Though details of the license have not been made public, Solomon Star understands that it gives Telekom total monopoly over telecommunication in the country, which the current government wants amended.

The Attorney General’s Chamber, which will be defending the government’s intended action, confirmed receiving the writ of notice.

A spokesman for the AG’s Office said they are ready to contest and defend the authority against the challenge.

He confirmed that Telekom is challenging the Government’s intention through the telecommunication regular to amend the exclusive license.

A part from that, he said, Telekom would also be contesting the Government’s decision to grant experimental licenses to Digicel to carry out its experiment.

Solomon Star understands that one of the reasons for the intended amendment is because Telekom is not providing the services required under the license, therefore the government sees it fit to open its market to new investors.

Though it will be challenging the Government in court, Mr Robinson said Telekom is ready to review the license.

"We have made private and public commitment as and when it (government) wants to review the exclusive license as in accordance with government’s frame work policy," Mr Robinson said.

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