My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: The non-compliance of Telecoms Providers with GOJ despite bad service

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The non-compliance of Telecoms Providers with GOJ despite bad service

As the majority of Jamaicans are experiencing the increases in basic commodities due to the increases in electricity and motor vehicle fuel, John Public is quick to notice that albeit other industries are squealing, the Telecoms Providers seem to be quiet.

They are neither contributing anything, whether in support or in opposition to the increased level of taxation being imposed by the Government of Jamaica, especially after posting record profits as stated in the article “Telecom revenue hit record in September Q” published Wednesday July 7th 2010, The Jamaica Observer, with profits overall up by 6.5% year-on-year to US$13.5 billion. 

This observation holds true not only for the Telecoms Providers, but also for the Power Utility Companies, Broadcasters and the Newspapers, all in capitals to indicate their prime importance to Jamaica, as they make life on this little island bearable and possible. Worse, their service is getting unbearable without MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and Flat Rate Calling, despite the glitzy advertising.

As the price of commodities on the world market increase and the Government of Jamaica increases and introduces new taxes, one is left to wonder if these increases are in some way benefiting the Telecoms Providers.

Telecoms Providers may in fact, be dodging taxes, as most of the Telecoms Providers are not submitting themselves to thorough audits in every department of their companies and may be in fact not only dodging taxes payable on PAYE salaries, but also on financial transactions, evidence of which I witnessed when I used to work at C&W and CLARO.

In both instances, I had pointed it out and to date no attempt by the respective Telecoms Providers have been made to make their companies more transparent to the Government of Jamaica and be more tax compliant.

In one instance, one Telecom Provider has repeatedly refused to make their profit and loss statements public, and after eight (8) years of operation in Jamaica, albeit this Telecoms Provider has begun to make profit, is yet to give any indication to John Public that it intends or has the intention to make an IPO (Initial Public Offering).

This would allow the local investors to invest in the company, making the company truly Jamaica by allowing all Jamaicans a chance to be shareholders in their company and “revel in their success”

I am thus left to wonder, also, why official inter-map sharing had not already been initiated at the Telecoms Providers, inclusive of the big three (3) and the smaller Telecoms Providers and the Broadcasters i.e. RJR Communications Group and CVM Communications Group and the Newspaper i.e. The Gleaner Company, the Herald and the Jamaica Observer as going MNP (Mobile Number Portability).

Going HDTV (High Definition Digital Television) and paperless respectively would require that this information not only be made widely available to the Government of Jamaica but also John Public.

The Public is most interested in knowing what the Telecoms Providers, Broadcasters and Newspapers who are all part of Telecommunications are doing in compliance with the Government of Jamaica in order to increase the Taxable Revenues collected from the industry.

It would also as well as streamline Telecommunications and allow for the entry of more local investors with the freeing up of spectrum in the Television and Radio Frequency Spectrum, specifically the white spaces that exist between the frequency bands in Television Broadcast.

These White Space Frequencies the Spectrum Management Authority will auction off as free broadcast spectrum for High speed data usage reserved for small Telecoms Service providers.

John Public is demanding answers, in light of the lackluster performance of Telecom Provider CLARO and its International Calling Service and the resolution of the problem reported by John Public since Sunday 25th July 2010, Telecom Provider Digicel

Their refusal to support MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and Telecom Provider LIME and all of the Big Three (3) Telecom Providers and their refusal to support informing customer when they are close to exceeding their Voice Plans (Local, International and Cross-Network), SMS Plans (Local, International and Cross-Network) and Data Plans needs to be investigated.

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