Legal action possible
Digicel Samoa has not ruled out legal action against its rival, Bluesky, over an incident at Apia Park, during the historical Manu Samoa and All Blacks test match in July.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer, Rory Condon, told the Sunday Samoan that while they welcome the Regulator’s decision to order Bluesky and the Samoa Rugby Union to apologise publically, Digicel is considering other options.
“While the Regulator considers whether to refer this matter to police or the Attorney-General to prosecute further, Digicel is also now reviewing its options, which may include legal action against Bluesky for the damage it has caused,” Mr. Condon said in a statement issued to the Sunday Samoan.
The order for an apology comes following an investigation by the Regulator into a complaint lodged by Digicel over interference with its network at Apia Park.
A request for a comment sent to Bluesky, via Leanne Moananu of its Marketing Division, was not responded to at press time last night.
But Mr. Condon said Bluesky’s actions were reckless and blatant.
"July's rugby match between Manu Samoa and the All Blacks was a fantastic and truly historic occasion for Samoa and its people,” he said.
“Unfortunately, due to deliberate acts by Bluesky, Digicel’s network and service was affected, cutting off access to essential communications for thousands of Samoans and visiting fans.
“In the lead up to the event, Digicel had invested heavily in network coverage to ensure that the large number of local and international rugby supporters at Apia Park could access world class services.
“However, following an extensive investigation, the Regulator has confirmed that Bluesky wilfully damaged Digicel's equipment, which cut services to Digicel's customers, visitors and travelling dignitaries. “Not only was this frustrating for many, it was also anti-competitive, and blatantly showed reckless disregard for public safety and the Law.
“Digicel therefore welcomes the Regulator’s order issued today, and is hopeful that these findings will ensure that Samoa can once again look forward to hosting world class events, conferences and sporting occasions, without the threat of anti-competitive behaviour.”
For now though, Mr. Condon said Digicel’s main focus is to “continue our commitment to provide superior services to all our customers, and to ensure that they are connected to their families and friends over the holiday season.
“We would like to take this opportunity to thank our valued customers and partners for being a part of the Digicel Family, and for their loyalty and support this year. We wish you a very Merry Christmas and a successful 2016."
The Sunday Samoan has also obtained a copy of the Order by the Regulator, Unutoa Auelua-Fonoti. It is published as follows:
Order of the Regulator
COMPLAINT LODGED BY DIGICEL SAMOA LIMITED AGAINST BLUESKY SAMOA LIMITED AND SAMOA RUGBY UNION ALLEGING THE CONTRAVENTION OF SECTIONS 28 AND 74(1) (i) OF THE TELECOMMUNICATIONS ACT 2005
Digicel (Samoa) Limited (“Digicel”) on 7 and 10 July 2015, lodged a formal complaint against Bluesky Samoa Limited (“Bluesky”) and the Samoa Rugby Union (“SRU”) alleging the contravention of sections 28 and 74 (1) (i) of the Telecommunications Act 2005 (“the Act”).
The regulatory process adopted by the Ofﬁce of the Regulator was premised on the functions and powers of the Regulator and the objectives of the Act taking into consideration the principles of natural justice particularly audi alteram partem.
Pursuant to section 8(1)(s) of the Act, the Regulator conducted an investigation into Digicel’s complaint and consulted with the relevant parties involved. The parties were given sufficient opportunity to provide responses and submissions. However, the submissions comprised varying accounts of the material facts which made it necessary for the Regulator to conduct site visits to verify and clarify the parties’ respective submissions. The issues complained of are addressed in detail in the Determination of the Regulator No. 2015/T07. Having considered all of the relevant information received during the course of the investigation, I make the following Order pursuant to section 8(1) (r) and 77(1) (a) of the Act:
Order: 1) Bluesky and SRU shall publish an apology in Samoan and English print in the Savali and one other newspaper, no later than seven (7) days from the effective date of the Regulator’s Order. The apology should address the incident at Apia Park on 8 July 2015 which gave rise to Digicel’s complaint, and shall be approved by OOTR as suitable for purpose before publication.
2) Bluesky and SRU shall provide a formal and written undertaking to the Regulator to the effect that both parties will not engage in anti-competitive practice and/or conduct to avoid recurrence in the future of infringements such as that which took place at Apia Park on 8 July 2015. This undertaking must be provided to the Regulator no later than fourteen (14) days from the effective date of the Regulator’s Order. Failure to comply with this Order shall result in the Regulator invoking section 75 of the Act Effective date of this Order 11th December 2015
Dated this 11th December 2015