Mon | Feb 19, 2018

Sanction telecoms operators

Published:Thursday | December 22, 2016 | 12:00 AM


This is an open letter to the minister of technology, the office of utilities regulation, the consumer affairs commission and the fair trading commission.

We have two telecom-operators (Flow and Digicel) offering mobile, landline, Internet (data) and business solutions services to customers, while another (Caricel) is preparing to launch its data-only services within the next 12 months.

In this data-intensive global environment where information is in high demand, such a competitive environment is welcomed as it provides an array of services, cheaper pricing and, more importantly, it eliminates the dictatorship of a monopoly and offers a real choice to customers.

There are issues, however, that if not urgently confronted could see an undermining of the real value of the services being offered and customers continuing to suffer the poor service and inefficiencies that abounds.

It is indisputable that Digicel and Flow have their share of problems, including network deficiencies and erroneous activities. However, Digicel has been more accessible and efficient in addressing customers' complaints. Flow, on the other hand, has been negligent, unresponsive and they simply lack the ability to care for its customers.




That Flow disclosed the privately-held numbers of its customers in the 2017 issue of the Jamaica Yellow Pages is just another demonstration of their negligence and gross recklessness. Their actions are untenable.

For months now, there have been numerous complaints, particularly in the newspapers and on the radio, about varying issues with Flow's service and they have not had the decency to respond or to state what they plan to do about them.

I am appalled that the regulators - namely the Office of Utilities Regulation, the Consumer Affairs Commission and the Fair Trading Commission - have not created a policy, or if one does exist, aggressively enforce such provisions to not only regulate the affairs of the operators, but to ensure that they are sanctioned with hefty fines when they fail to comply with the reasonable expectation of customers.

The imposition of hefty monetary fines on the operators would compel them to provide better service and to comply. I respectfully submit that this policy, which would hold the operators to stricter standards to avert their negligence, inefficiency and poor customer service, should be effected forthwith.