My Thoughts on Technology and Jamaica: Minister Paulwell says VoIP Providers must Register to Terminate - Why WhatsApp may no longer be Free as IXP by January 2015, MNP by May 2015

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Minister Paulwell says VoIP Providers must Register to Terminate - Why WhatsApp may no longer be Free as IXP by January 2015, MNP by May 2015

“The Ministry for Finance and Planning needs to collect revenue”

Phillip Paulwell, the Minister of Science Technology Energy and Mining, during a forum in Kingston on Tuesday December 2nd 2014

Looks like all this price-dropping may actually have to do with some good news that the Telecom Providers had received.

More of it is set to come by the way; I spoke to a LIME representative today and she told me that they plan to have their 50 sale again this weekend as I’d reported in my blog article entitled “JA$2999+GCT Huawei Ascend Y330 Sale at @limejamaica - Digicel DL750, DL800 Sale makes JA$6,907.92+GCT per month Samsung Galaxy Note 4 a Steal”.       

Everybody loves a sale! But onto the main news!

The Government of Jamaica has apparently agreed with the Telecom Provider that VoIP Providers can no longer terminate calls for free on their Networks as reported in the article “Telecoms Triumph In VoIP Stand-Off”, published Wednesday December 3, 2014, Avia Collinder, Business Reporter, The Jamaica Gleaner

Minister of Science, Technology, Energy and Mining, Phillip Paulwell has stated that regulations for VoIP Providers are coming with the intention to tax them like regular Telecom Providers as I’d argued in my blog article entitled “Telecom Providers await OUR’s Judgement on VoIP Bypass – Viber is on the rebound but USF Revenue for GOJ means they’ll win”.

VoIP Providers to be registered to terminate – IXP Deadline means WhatsApp may be disconnected

Effectively, it’ll mean that any Jamaican entrepreneur that wants to become a VoIP Providers will have to go through the same registration process as a typical Telecom Provider.

This was the very same argument put forward by Minister Phillip Paulwell at the 30th Annual Conference of CANTO that began on Monday August 11th 2014 in Nassau, Bahamas as reported in my blog article entitled “VoIP Talks at 30th Annual Conference of CANTO - How VoIP robs Telecoms as Not All Traffic is Equal as Caribbean VoIP Operators needed”.

And since the local IXP (Internet Exchange Point) is to come on-stream by Thursday January 1st 2014 as detailed in my blog article entitled “Jamaica's Local Internet Exchange Point - IXP Lower Routings, Web Hosting and Websites Loading on smartphones as Jamaican Domain Name Registration and MNP, LNP Approaches”, it suggests all VoIP Providers and Telecom Provider who are not complaint can be legally disconnected by the Telecom Providers Digicel and LIME.

They appear to the happiest of all. First Telecom Provider LIME parent CWC (Cable and Wireless Communications), who appear to be relieved about the announcement, quote:  “Cable and Wireless Communications welcomes Minister Paulwell's pronouncement today in relation to permitting charges for making calls using Voice over Internet Protocol. We have long maintained that VoIP Operators have been utilizing the network of Telecoms providers without any commensurate compensation for this service. In doing so, they are also depriving the government of tax revenue”.

Telecom Provider Digicel, responding by email to the Jamaica gleaner, was a bit more reserved, quote: “The dynamism of the Telecommunications industry requires responsive policymakers. So, while we were not aware of the regulations mentioned by the Minister, we do welcome the proactive response to the issues related to VoIP calls”.

Folks, your days on WhatsApp may be numbered! Either that, of they’ll have to charging for the use of their services by encouraging subscribers to purchase a monthly account!

VoIP Providers as regular Telecom Providers – IXP by Thursday January 1st 2015, MNP/LNP by Sunday May 31th 2015

Minister Paulwell, as I’d suspected, is of the view that they must contribute to the USF (Universal Service Fund) like any other Telecom Provider, funds for which now stands at some JA$12 billion.

In addition to making the termination of Internet access through the IXP mandatory, both  VoIP Providers and Telecom Providers will have to connect to the NPA (Numbering Portability Administrator) by Sunday May 31th 2014 to enable MNP (Mobile Number Portability) and LNP (Landline Number Portability) as described in my blog article entitled “OUR issues TPPR for a Number Portability Administrator in Jamaica - How Number Portability will get us NANP's NPA and Third 4G Competitor”.

Failure to comply will result in a revocation of their Telecoms license, to quote Minister Paulwell: “The chief parliamentary counsel has finalized all regulations dealing with portability. We have gazetted all the rules. The companies which are not ready will feel the full brunt of the law”.

By January 2015, there will be a new ICT (Internet and Computing Technology) Regulator, effectively taking up the administrate role jointly being handled by Office of Utilities Regulation, Spectrum Authority, Fair Trading Commission and the Broadcasting Commission, to again quote Minister Phillip Paulwell: “Currently, we are completing the drafting instructions for a new ICT law. By the second week in January we will have, therefore, a new set of proposals ready for Cabinet”.

IXP by Thursday January 1st 2015, MNP/LNP by Sunday May 31th 2015; Telecoms finally making progress in Jamaica as VoIP Operators fall in line!

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