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C&W wraps up three-year court case

Cleared of delaying Caribbean competition

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Cable & Wireless has been cleared of deliberately delaying telecoms market competition in the Caribbean, though even the judge attributed his decision in part to poorly drafted regulations.

The case was brought by Digicel back in July 2007 and relates to how the Caribbean telecom market was opened up to competition after 2002. Digicel alleged that C&W refused to interconnect to its mobile customers, and when it did the termination fees* charged were unreasonable.

Today's court ruling clears C&W of those allegations, though even the presiding judge commented that the legislation in question was "poorly drafted".

Cable & Wireless described the case as "a pointless waste of time and money", while Digicel has been busy claiming the judge's ruling found "senior executives of TSTT [a local firm part-owned by C&W] and its contractors, Nortel ... acting 'contrary to honest practices' and thereby breaking the law" and "deliberately giving false or misleading evidence at the trial".

Digicel bought the case in the UK, partly because Cable & Wireless is based in the UK, but also because pursuing the case through the various island authorities is laborious. Cariaccess Communications pursued C&W though the local authorities for many years, making the same accusations that the former-monopoly was refusing to interconnect in order to preserve its market advantage.

Digicel will be following up with the Trinidad authorities, as that's where the law was apparently broken. Digicel will be calling for a full enquiry.

But while the company puts a brave face on the outcome, and claims to be "considering its legal options" it seems that this round goes to Cable & Wireless. ®

* The fee paid by the originating network to the terminating one, the subject of regulatory management in many markets including the UK.

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