CICRA (the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities) has frozen JT’s retail fixed-line prices in Jersey until 31 December 2013.
The regulator issued an initial notice of its intention to extend the one-year price control applied to JT’s retail services in November and, after consultation with the Jersey telecommunications industry, it issued its final notice today.
Charges levied by JT for local calls, calls to the UK and international calls are to be capped at the rates that applied last year. Connection charges for fixed lines and maximum monthly line rental charges will also be capped at last year’s rates.
CICRA chief executive, Andrew Riseley, explained that the price freeze remained necessary while the industry continued with its development of new wholesale access products aimed at increasing choice and competition in fixed-line telecom services.
“If successful, competitive access to JT’s network may stimulate further competition in fixed-line services, providing consumers with greater choice and better pricing, and would help drive innovation in the services provided,” he said.
It is the regulator’s view that, if vigorous competition is created in this market, there could be little or no need for retaining retail price controls as competitors would be a catalyst for keener pricing.
“JT is currently the dominant provider for fixed-line telecoms services in Jersey. In the event that competition is increased for these services there will be less need for retail price controls and there may be scope to significantly reduce or remove them,” Mr Riseley said.
CICRA anticipates that rival telecoms companies will be in a position to offer fixed-line competition within the next nine months.
“Given the time period in which sufficient competition might develop CICRA is not setting the usual three-year price control period.
“Currently JT provides 100% of all fixed exchange lines for residential customers. We do not believe that competition from mobile phones (as a substitute for fixed lines) or broadband-facilitated calling services are, as yet, of sufficient magnitude to apply pressure to fixed-line prices so it is necessary for a price control to remain in place.”
The standard line rental will remain at £12.75 (plus GST). Standard calls within the Channel Islands, and to landlines in the UK, start at a minimum of 7p per minute from JT landlines. International charges can be found at: http://www.jtglobal.com/Global/PDFs/Consumer/fixed%20line/international_call_charges.pdf.
Category: Finance & Business