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Jamaica to introduce new telecoms bill

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Jamaica’s Prime Minister Bruce Golding has said that the country will be introducing a new telecommunications bill within six weeks and that it would address the issue of competition.

Jamaica currently does not have any laws to curb anticompetitive behaviour and Golding’s announcement came after Digicel Group, one of the largest mobile operators in the Caribbean, acquired rival Claro Jamaica; a deal that ignited fears the company would be so dominant that it would dissuade new players from entering the market.

The new bill that is being proposed would provide additional powers for the regulator, which would work with the Fair Trading Commission to prescribe measures aimed at preventing anticompetitive activity in the telecoms sector.

Mobile operator LIME welcomed the Prime Minister’s statement, claiming that it has long made the case that the country’s regulatory playing field is imbalanced and this has led to consumers being charged higher rates than necessary.

“The Prime Minister’s reference to the need to strengthen the telecoms legal and regulatory framework, bringing it into line with best practices, is an encouraging sign of improvement and LIME believes the legislative changes should be put in place without delay,” the company wrote in a statement.

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