Minister of Communications, Gregory Bowen has announced that ten conditions have been agreed upon by the Council of Ministers of ECTEL member countries to bring about the Flow/LIME merger in the Eastern Caribbean.
The Ministers met in St. Lucia recently to look at the planned merger of two of the main players in the telecommunications industry in the region.
According to Minister Bowen, if an approval of the merger is not given then FLOW will continue to operate as it used to do and LIME in the same way.
He told reporters at a press conference that the Ministers “have agreed on a list of conditions that we will give to them at a later date”.
“With the merger, if they agree to the conditions that we set them, it will most likely take place…”, he said.
The senior government minister pointed out that the conditions set are similar to what Barbados handed to the two providers for their planned merger including the selling of some assets to make the playing field more competitive.
He said the conditions set call for the service provider to make the existing infrastructure network available to any newcomer into the market.
“…If a third party comes in, that person does not have to go and dig up road and run poles again, they can simply string their line along FLOW’s pole, so you making it very easy for somebody to come in,” the Communications Minister explained.
He said the conditions are there to ensure that there is ease of entry for another company or at least four or five small companies.
According to Minister Bowen, the ECTEL board will also be looking at the prices that will be charged to the new persons entering the marketplace.
He said the intention is to avoid price grouching.
“…You cannot say I will charge you such an exorbitant price that you cannot come in. Further, you cannot do price grouching. So because you strong and big, you say I could lose five million dollars now, so you reduce your price and this new company cannot come in but as soon as he is (not) here, up goes your price again – that will not happen again. If you reduce your price, you better keep it there, so if you were losing, continue to lose,” he remarked.
Minister Bowen said that many more conditions were set by the ECTEL Board to try and facilitate the LIME/FLOW merger but they have given the two service providers a chance to look at them before they are made public.