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Digicel seeks legal redress in Caribbean

Takes Cable & Wireless to UK's High Court

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Digicel has accused rival telco Cable & Wireless of engaging in illegal and uncompetitive practices which delayed Digicel's expansion into Caribbean markets and cost the company hundreds of millions of pounds.

Cable & Wireless enjoyed a virtual monopoly in the Caribbean until Digicel's audacious capture of the Jamaican mobile market in 2002, which demonstrated that the incumbent monopoly was vulnerable across the region.

Between 2002 and 2006, Cable & Wireless has been accused of refusing to interconnect with Digicel customers in various countries, as well as charging unreasonable termination fees once interconnections were established. In some countries the government has been forced to step in and set termination fees, as well as mandating interconnection, in much the same way that BT is regulated in the UK.

Digicel is claiming that Cable & Wireless used its monopoly position to try and prevent the upstart launching services in eight markets, including St Lucia, Grenada, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, and Trinidad & Tobago.

Cable and Wireless has dismissed the claims as a "spoiling tactic" that has no foundation.

The case is unlikely to be heard until 2008. ®

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