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OPPOSITION HAILS RULING IN FTC V. DIGICEL, ET. AL.

OPPOSITION HAILS RULING IN FTC V. DIGICEL, ET. AL.

Today, Opposition Spokesperson on Industry, Investment and Commerce, Anthony Hylton, MP, hailed the recent Privy Council ruling in the case involving the Fair Trading Commission (FTC) and Digicel over its public merger with former competitor, Claro.

Hylton who was the Minister with responsibility for the FTC in 2012-2016, obtained Cabinet’s approval for the matter to be taken to the Privy Council to appeal a Court of Appeal decision which restricted the Commission’s jurisdiction or ability to examine the Agreement entered into between Digicel and Claro (which resulted in a merger between the two companies) for any anti-competitive effects on the economy and consumers.

Mr. Hylton said “the Privy Council ruling is a victory for the Commission, the economy and consumers of mobile telecoms services, indeed ALL of us in Jamaica and throughout the Caricom Region!!”

“The Commission had long argued for a greater role in the telecoms sector, notwithstanding the existence of a Telecommunications Act. The Agency also felt that it should have the right to examine the activities of the various actors in the sector to ensure that the benefits of competition, including lower prices, technology advance and greater investments in the economy are expanded and experienced by all”; Hylton noted.

Additionally, the ruling has addressed the matter of the FTC’s jurisdiction in merger/ acquisition cases in a positive manner, thereby, eliminating the immediate need for a long sought after legislative amendment to the Fair Competition Act.

Hylton is convinced that this ruling shows that there is an even greater need for ministerial direction of the FTC to avoid over-regulation of the telecoms sector and the striking of a meaningful balance between the needs of industry players and consumer interests to the benefit of the economy.