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Mauritius moves to protect local telco

Rivals ordered to match tariffs

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Mauritius is banning telecoms from competing on price with the incumbent Mauritius Telecom.

Mauritius Telecom, faced with the indignity of rivals offering cheaper international calls, complained to the government. And the government acted - the regulator Information and Communication Technologies Authority ruled that all telcos should charge the same for international calls.

Rival telcos say this makes it effectively impossible to challenge the incumbent telco. The government owns over 34 per cent of Mauritius Telecom. One rival telco City Calls was offering peak-time calls for 8 Mauritian rupees (28 US cents) - this will have to go up to between 10.20Rs and 15.60Rs (56 US cents) .

Some operators are complaining that they were not told of the restriction when they started business and that the changes may force them to leave the island, according to l'express.mu

The regulator, rival telcos and MT have met but so far failed to find a solution to the problem. Mauritius Telecom is owned by France Telecom (40 per cent), the government of Mauritius (34.5 per cent), the national pension fund (6.55 per cent) and the State Bank of Mauritius (19 per cent).

Mauritius is keen to become a cyber island by encouraging technology investment - it's currently building a Cyber Tower, in CyberCity, and the country is hosting the 2004 African Computing and Telecommunications Summit in September.®

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