TATT says TSTT’s Single National Rate has not been approved by them

The recent TSTT announcement of a Single National Rate has generated some controversy (really?). The Telecom Authority of Trinidad and Tobago (TATT) according to a Trinidad Express article on Wednesday August 8th, 2007 :

TATT, in response to TSTT’s notice, said that the move to revise the telephone rates was done illegally and without the necessary approval.

“The Authority wishes to notify the public that no approval has been granted to TSTT to revise its existing tariffs for fixed line to fixed line calls, since it has not yet had the opportunity to determine the likely impact of the proposed tariff change to consumer bills, if the proposed changes are to be implemented,” TATT said.

It added that TSTT was required to give the Authority 30 days notice first and then another 30 days notice to the public before rates could be revised as part of its regulatory obligations.

A consumer impact study done by TATT indicated that customers will be experiencing a 300 per cent increase on three-minute calls within the same exchange (area) with the new rates.

And TSTT, in response to TATT :

Lisa Agard, TSTT’s vice president, Legal and Regulatory, told the Express last night that all the proper regulations in keeping with TSTT’s concession agreement were followed.

“TSTT regards (TATT’s) statement as vexatious and completely without merit. In the first place there is absolutely no requirement either under the Telecommunications Act or under TSTT’s concession that approval had to attained from TATT when a concessionaire wants to revise its existing rates,” Agard said.

She added that the need for TSTT to give the Authority a prior 30 days notice was also not in the relevant regulations.

In its revision of tariffs, which was done as close as April this year, TSTT has not given TATT any prior 30 days notice and it has never been called into question, Agard said.

She added that if the Authority intends to take legal action, as it indicated in its statement yesterday, then TSTT is fully prepared to stand by its position as it is completely within the law.

The Communication Workers Union (CWU) has also spoken out against the Single National Rate :

The new single national rate which TSTT expects to bring into effect early next month is illegal, says secretary general of the Communication Workers Union (CWU) Lyle Townsend.

Townsend was speaking at a press conference held at the union’s Port of Spain headquarters yesterday, where he commented on TSTT’s intention to implement a new rate on fixed phone lines.

“This is about a basic increase in the telephone service calls. It’s an increase of a minimum of 300 per cent,” he said, adding that customers in the same exchange would no longer have “unlimited” access.

Townsend said that the average consumer is ignorant of the billing process and that TSTT is taking advantage of that fact.

Related articles :

TSTT announces Single National Rate for local fixed line calls

TSTT has published a advisory notice announcing a single national rate of 23 cents TT to any fixed line in Trinidad and Tobago from September 7th, 2007.

Here is the text of the TSTT press release :
http://www.tstt.co.tt/about/news_article.cfm?id=330

SIMPLE CALLING RATE STRUCTURE FOR FIXED LINE CALLS
INTRODUCTION OF A SINGLE NATIONAL RATE

TSTT wishes to advise customers of the introduction of a new and simple calling rate for billing fixed line calls across Trinidad and Tobago. The existing complex rate structure will be replaced with a Single National Rate.

The Single National Rate will eliminate the elements that currently determine the cost of a local call such as: distance; whether calls are made within or outside of your exchange area and time of day. All fixed line calls will now be billed using one simple per minute rate (The following exceptions apply: calls to mobile, international, 976, 800 or other premium services; independent ISP numbers and calls from Payphones will remain unchanged. Smart Choice customers will not be affected.)
A NEW SIMPLER RATE

The existing rates range from $0.23 to $0.69 per minute. The new simplified rate will be $0.23 per minute for all calls to any location within Trinidad and Tobago with effect from September 7, 2007.

Customers will now be able to call family and friends in any part of Trinidad and Tobago, at one simple calling rate. The Single National Rate is in direct response to customer feedback and conforms to international trends for local call billing.

Customers will receive more details in the near future and may feel free to contact TSTT’s offices for further information on the Single National Rate.

Flow’s broadband pricing

Update edit : 30th Oct 2007 : new Flow pricing

Update Edit : 3rd Sept 2007 : Flow announces new speeds for its u-click unlimited 2 package

Update Edit (4:11pm) : clarified that pricing is monthly and added information and link to Flow’s service charges section.

Saw on the TTCS discussion mailing list, that Flow, (the cable company in Trinidad and Tobago) has released its pricing for broadband on its website and it is better than what the initial brochures had :

Broadband Internet packages from Flow :

All prices in TT dollars per month and are VAT inclusive

  • u-click 20
    • 20 hours per month, 1 email address ;
    • 1Mbps download, 256Kbps upload
    • $91.99
  • u-click 50
    • 50 hours per month, 1 email address ;
    • 1Mbps download, 256Kbps upload
    • $164.44
  • u-click Unlimited 1
    • unlimited hours, 3 email addresses
    • 2Mbps download, 512Kbps upload
    • $390.99
  • u-click Unlimited 2
    • unlimited hours, 5 email addresses
    • 4Mbps download, 2Mbps upload 6Mbps download, 2Mbps upload as of September 1st, 2007
    • $689.99
  • Flow Service charges (applies to all packages ; appears to be one time service charges with one exeception )
    • Existing Flow Customer Installation Fee : $114.99
    • Internet Only Customer Installation Fee : $158.70
    • Existing Flow Customer Modem Fee : $459.99
    • Internet Only Customer Modem Fee : $689.99
    • Modem Insurance ( Optional Charge) : $11.50 (think this is a monthly charge)
    • Stolen Modem (insured modem) : free
    • Stolen Modem (not insured) : full price of modem

Wow. Very impressive pricing. It is available for areas that Flow has converted to digital service. Wonder how TSTT and other ISPs are going to respond to this.

Related links :