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Court rules in telecoms dispute

Published:Friday | February 12, 2010 | 12:00 AM

Telecommunications provider LIME won a legal battle in the Supreme Court yesterday when the court ordered its competitor Digicel to restore all of LIME's international call circuits to full capacity.

The court's ruling is in relation to an ongoing dispute which LIME has with Digicel which arose when Digicel blocked LIME's international call circuits resulting in loss of revenue to LIME.

LIME took legal action against Digicel after Digicel blocked traffic on LIME's international call circuits in December 2008 during the Christmas period and again in January 2009. LIME is contending that Digicel's action was in direct contravention of contractual arrangements between Digicel and LIME.

The ruling yesterday means that Digicel must restore all of LIME's circuits to full capacity which means that Digicel must now comply with the existing inter-connection agreement between the two companies until the matter is further aired in court.

Responding to the Supreme Court's ruling, Geoff Houston, LIME's managing director for Jamaica and Cayman, said, "This is a big win for LIME and we are extremely pleased that the courts have ruled in our favour and ordered Digicel to restore our international circuits to full capacity."

He added: "The court's ruling also supports LIME's position that Digicel's actions were contrary to existing inter-connection agree-ments and we hope this sends a strong message to Digicel that they cannot arbitrarily disregard contractual agreements and not face the consequences."

Fantastic news

In response to yesterday's court ruling, Mark Linehan, CEO of Digicel Jamaica, said "this is fantastic news for Digicel and for our customers".

Linehan said the whole issue centred around a systems upgrade that Digicel intended to carry out in January 2009 to improve the call quality on its network and identify and control illegal bypass operations - all for the good of its customers.

"This work was put on hold when C&W (now LIME) obtained an ex parte injunction against Digicel in January 2009 citing anti-competitive behaviour. Importantly, this ex parte injunction was overturned just a few weeks later in March 2009. Given that the issue was still not resolved from a legal standpoint, we agreed to suspend the systems upgrade work until such time as the legal process had been completed," he said.

"We're looking forward to demonstrating to the court the importance of offering the very best service to customers and remain confident that when the issue comes before the court for trial we will be successful," Linehan added.