PNG TELIKOM LOSES SUIT AGAINST COMPETITOR DIGICEL

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Challenge to license quashed

By Clifford Faiparik

PORT MORESBY, Papua New Guinea (The National, March 31, 2008) - Digicel will now operate on a mobile phone license after the Supreme Court quashed Telikom’s appeal against the granting of its license in Port Moresby last Friday.

The Waigani Supreme Court in a 69-page ruling handed down by Justice David Cannings has upheld the National Court’s decision to squash Telikom’s appeal against the Independent Consumer and Competition Commission’s (ICCC) decision.

ICCC had decided last March 27 to grant a mobile phone license to Digicel.

Judge Cannings handed down the decision on behalf of Deputy Chief Justice Sir Salamo Injina and Justice Nicholas Kirriwom.

Telikom was still aggrieved at ICCC’s decision to grant two new public mobile licenses and commenced last December 22 legal proceedings against the ICCC, seeking judicial review on ICCC’s decision.

Telikom had appealed to the Supreme Court after National Court judges Bernard Sakora and Ambeng Kandakasi dismissed proceedings made by Telikom against ICCC and Digicel.

The dismissals were made on the grounds of relitigation, multiplicity, abuse of process and undue delay to a more central issue.

The central issue was whether Telikom consented or agreed with ICCC to a variation of clause 10.1 of the regulatory contract to bring forward the end of Telikom’s monopoly from October 17, 2007 to March 31, 2008.

Justice Sakora had dismissed the proceedings last Aug 24, when upholding Justice Kandakasi’s earlier decision because it was an abuse of the court process.

Judge Kandakasi had also made a similar decision last May 18, when the Telikom matter was brought before him.

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