Jamaica | Mar 3, 2023

Paulwell calls for greater competition in the telecommunications market

Vanassa McKenzie

Vanassa McKenzie / Our Today

Reading Time: 2 minutes
Phillip Paulwell, opposition spokesman on science, energy and technology.

The current quality of service being provided by local telecommunications (telecom) providers is drawing concern from Phillip Paulwell, the opposition spokesman on science, energy and technology.

During Thursday’s (March 2) sitting of the Standing Finance Committee of the House of Representatives, Paulwell bemoaned the quality of service that is being provided to Jamaicans, describing it as “poor”.

Said Paulwell: “We inside this House support competition, and it is clear to all of us that the service that we receive is not up to par in so many cases and in some instances, poor.”

According to Paulwell, the way forward is to have more competition in the telecoms market and greater monitoring of telecoms providers by the Office of Utilities Regulation (OUR).

The opposition spokesman also expressed his disappointment with the slow rollout of the island’s third telecommunications provider.

“I am disappointed that a company that a licence was awarded to, I haven’t seen or heard anything of them,” he said.

Telecommunications company Rock Mobile was in 2021 granted a licence to operate locally by the Ministry of Science, Energy and Technology.

Daryl Vaz, minister of science, energy and technology.

Daryl Vaz, minister of science, energy and technology, for his part noted that the ministry has been in discussion with the OUR regarding the quality of service being provided by telecoms providers.

“We have indicated to them our dissatisfaction in relation to the service and, of course, they have indicated to us that they are monitoring the situation. I know from time to time they have discussions with telecoms providers but it is an independent regulator and therefore you have to keep your distance in terms of making sure that you don’t overstep your boundaries,” he said.

Vaz further noted that the ministry has committed to ensuring that the service being provided by telecoms providers is up to standard.

“As far as Rock Mobile, there are specifics in the licence. I have met with the CEO to get an update and there are no two ways about it, based on COVID-19 [pandemic] and all that has happened. There have been supply chain issues [etc] but they have committed to me that they are on track to roll out within the timelines and they did get an extension during the pandemic,” he noted.

The telecommunications company, when up and running, is expected to provide improved broadband service to communities across the island.


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