Digicel denies claims made by PM

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Regional telecommunications giant Digicel has publicly denied allegations made by Prime Minister Gaston Browne over the weekend that it is taking advantage of local customers.
Browne, who was speaking on his radio station, Pointe FM, on Saturday, accused both Digicel and FLOW — two telecommunication providers — of “raping” the people of Antigua and Barbuda.
“They are presently selling to APUA that broadband service at a mark up, and this is wholesale, a mark up of about 600 percent. I am saying that is exploitative and just raping the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” Browne stated.
“APUA, on the other hand, is selling that same service that they’re buying from Flow and Digicel to their customers for $75, half the price that Flow and Digicel [are] selling to their customers,” he added.
Digicel, however, said the prime minister’s statements are “inaccurate” and “inappropriate”.
The company, according to a recent press release, is accusing the government of trying to stifle competition within the local telecoms market.
It stated: “With serious issues around the liberalization of the fixed line market and number portability to name but two – this is just the latest in a series of moves being made to stifle competition in the telecoms market in Antigua and Barbuda for the benefit of the state-owned APUA.”
Digicel, however, noted that it will be requesting an urgent meeting with PM Browne to plan the way forward.
“As champions of competition in the telecoms market across the Caribbean – and as a company which prides itself on its commitments to its customers and to contributing positively to its communities – Digicel will be seeking an urgent meeting with the Prime Minister to address these issues and chart a positive way forward for all parties and for the benefit of the people of Antigua and Barbuda,” it added in the release.
It is not clear if the prime minister will facilitate the meeting as he did not respond to our calls for comments on the matter. FLOW, the other telecommunications company, has not issued a press release on the matter to date. Efforts to reach them for a comment were futile.

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