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Antigua: Digicel gets conditional hike

Antigua Observer:-  The government has authorised Digicel to proceed with a conditional increase and will give the telecommunications company an opportunity to present a statutory declaration.

The statutory declaration is the legal document that will be used to satisfy the legal requirement for the rate hike, if no other evidence is available to support Digicel’s claims.

Information Minister Melford Nicholas said the company must show that their reason for requesting the increase is true.

This, after Digicel’s postpaid and mobile data customers in Antigua & Barbuda started seeing a 5 per cent increase on their bills last Monday.

The company told customers the additional charge was to accommodate necessary changes to support upgrades to its network.

Last week, Nicholas told state media that the company imposed the increases without permission and must now reverse them.

When the announcement was first made public earlier this month, Nicholas said that the government had not given the telecommunications company any permission to increase its fees.

However, on January 23, Digicel started charging customers the additional rate.

CEO of Digicel Antigua Janice Sutherland said the system had been pre-set to apply the charges and indicated that customers would be credited if Digicel did not get approval from the government.

Earlier, the Minister responsible for public utilities, Sir Robin Yearwood told OBSERVER media that Digicel would receive formal approval. Nicholas has since said that an answer will not be given to the company before February 15.

The government has asked the telecommunications company to rescind the price hike it had applied prematurely to the services it offers customers.

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