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TELECOMS company, Digicel, yesterday told its competitor, LIME, to stop what it called the "outrageous public bashing" of Government officials and focus instead on its own business.

The company was responding to a statement issued by LIME on Saturday in which it accused former Prime Minister Andrew Holness of betraying Jamaican consumers when he reversed a requirement that Digicel maintain two networks as a condition of its proposed merger with Claro.

LIME had also urged the Government to immediately implement an emergency overhaul of the regulations governing the telecoms industry in order to protect consumers and other service providers.

Digicel, in a statement yesterday, said the deal was in the interest of consumers and that the former prime minister followed the letter of the law in his approval of the deal and lifting of the prior conditions.

Said Digicel: "The Telecoms Act in Jamaica does not permit the minister with responsibility for Telecoms (in this case former Prime Minister Andrew Holness) to impose any conditions on the approval of the deal. Indeed, any imposing of conditions would in fact be unlawful. Once Digicel had received the initial approval of the deal from the Government (under former Prime Minister Bruce Golding), it followed the required process step by step and took the opportunity to go back to the Office of the Prime Minister (as was its right as part of the approval process) to make clear that the stipulation to run two networks concurrently was both uneconomic and unworkable. Digicel also consulted with the then Opposition spokesperson on telecommunications, Philip Paulwell, who similarly understood that the operation of two networks was not viable and supported the decision to lift that restriction."

Digicel said, too, that its acquisition of Claro Jamaica would benefit consumers across Jamaica by proactively and voluntarily offering to reduce its cross-network rates for both prepaid and postpaid customers by $3.50 per minute peak rate reduction and a $2 per minute off-peak rate reduction on calls to the other network. This, it said, represents an up to a 20 per cent reduction on the previous rates.

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