TATT says TSTT’s Single National Rate has not been approved by them

The recent TSTT announcement of a Single National Rate has generated some controversy (really?). The Telecom Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) according to a Trinidad Express article on Wednesday August 8th, 2007 :

TATT, in response to TSTT’s notice, said that the move to revise the telephone rates was done illegally and without the necessary approval.

“The Authority wishes to notify the public that no approval has been granted to TSTT to revise its existing tariffs for fixed line to fixed line calls, since it has not yet had the opportunity to determine the likely impact of the proposed tariff change to consumer bills, if the proposed changes are to be implemented,” TATT said.

It added that TSTT was required to give the Authority 30 days notice first and then another 30 days notice to the public before rates could be revised as part of its regulatory obligations.

A consumer impact study done by TATT indicated that customers will be experiencing a 300 per cent increase on three-minute calls within the same exchange (area) with the new rates.

And TSTT, in response to TATT :

Lisa Agard, TSTT’s vice president, Legal and Regulatory, told the Express last night that all the proper regulations in keeping with TSTT’s concession agreement were followed.

“TSTT regards (TATT’s) statement as vexatious and completely without merit. In the first place there is absolutely no requirement either under the Telecommunications Act or under TSTT’s concession that approval had to attained from TATT when a concessionaire wants to revise its existing rates,” Agard said.

She added that the need for TSTT to give the Authority a prior 30 days notice was also not in the relevant regulations.

In its revision of tariffs, which was done as close as April this year, TSTT has not given TATT any prior 30 days notice and it has never been called into question, Agard said.

She added that if the Authority intends to take legal action, as it indicated in its statement yesterday, then TSTT is fully prepared to stand by its position as it is completely within the law.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has also spoken out against the Single National Rate :

The new single national rate which TSTT expects to bring into effect early next month is illegal, says secretary general of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) Lyle Townsend.

Townsend was speaking at a press conference held at the union’s Port of Spain headquarters yesterday, where he commented on TSTT’s intention to implement a new rate on fixed phone lines.

“This is about a basic increase in the telephone service calls. It’s an increase of a minimum of 300 per cent,” he said, adding that customers in the same exchange would no longer have “unlimited” access.

Townsend said that the average consumer is ignorant of the billing process and that TSTT is taking advantage of that fact.

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