Digicel announces unapproved price hike

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Digicel has announced that as of February 1, customers in Antigua & Barbuda will pay a 5 per cent increase in their postpaid mobile services.

In an email to Digicel customers, the Irish telecommunications company said that the price hike was as a result of an “increased cost of doing business” on the island. The changes are to be made to postpaid mobile calls and data services.

However, Minister of Telecommunications Melford Nicholas said Digicel did not seek approval for the increase from the government.

Nicholas said the license agreement that the company operates under in Antigua & Barbuda requires Digicel to seek the permission of the Ministry of Telecommunica-tions for such an increase.

“Now I’d be the first to admit that that’s a little awkward, because the [Antigua] Public Utilities Authority is also competitive in the market,” Nicholas said. “But that is the nature of the telecommunications market that I’m seeking to change.”

The breach of protocol may have been inadvertent, Nicholas said, and as a result, the government will not immediately pursue punitive measures.

More in today’s Daily Observer.

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