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Regulator halts Digicel promotion

The Office of the Regulator has brought an immediate halt to a Digicel promotion, saying that the advertisement is unlawful and discriminatory to the company’s customers.

In an order issued to Digicel Samoa Limited by the Regulator, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua–Fonoti, on 17 February 2020, the Regulator ordered the immediate withdrawal from the market of the "top-up $3 or more free promotion."

The Regulator’s grounds for its removal were the “unlawful implementation of [a] promotion by way of no formal submissions (application) to Regulator for approval”.

“No approval [was] granted by the Regulator,” the order said. 

“The promotion found to be in violation of the Interconnection Agreement of rates currently in place.

“The promotion is discriminatory in its nature that only some customers are entitled to the benefits of the promotion without justifications on the selection.”

An email sent to the Digicel Samoa Chief Executive Officer, Farid Mohammed, was not answered by press time.

The decision on the immediate cessation of the promotion followed a formal complaint filed by the company’s competitor Bluesky Samoa Limited last month.

According to the Regulator’s Order, direct contact with Digicel’s customer care service on 17 February, when it was discovered that the promotion was still rolling out.

“The fact [is] that the C.E.O. of Digicel Samoa Limited has acknowledged receipt of Regulator’s instructions to immediately cease the promotion did not follow suit,” says the Order.  

“The Regulator confirms that the retail rates associated with Digicel Samoa Ltd promotion is subject to the statutory requirements for tariffs specified under the Telecommunications Act 2005.

“In light of the above, the Regulator has seen it fit to issue Order of the Regulator No.2020/T01 pursuant to the Telecommunications Act 2005.

“The Regulator is empowered to regulate the telecommunications market and to issue orders in the course of [the implementation of] statutory duties under the Act.”

Digicel has been ordered to immediately cease the implementation of the top-up $3 or more free promotion from the market.

All advertisements pertaining to this same promotion must be removed from the market, says the Regulator’s Order.

“Digicel is instructed that it must submit to the Office of the Regulator an application for the approval of any tariffs associated with its promotions for the Regulator’s consideration.

“Failure to comply with any of the instructions set forth above may result in penalties being imposed against Digicel (Samoa) Limited in accordance with section 75 of the Act.” 

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