Excell given till end of month to finish promotional tariffs
Mobile operator reports receiving permission for extension, as Hello confirms MPTC issued warnings over two tariffs following recent prakas on pricing
THE government has permitted mobile-phone provider Excell to continue a special promotion until the end of the month, a company spokesman said Monday, after which the firm must change the tariff to conform with a recent prakas, or edict, on pricing.
We dare not do anything that is against the [recently passed] law."
San Bora told the Post that the brand, operated by GT-Tell (Cambodia), would discontinue by February a number of promotions that charge customers below the new minimum tariff of US$0.045 per minute for within-network calls. These include a flat $3 rate per month for unlimited within-network calls for those that register on a special promotion. At $0.03 per minute, the standard rate was also below the new minimum tariff, San Bora said.
“We dare not do anything that is against the law,” she said. “If we do not follow the regulations, we could be fined or have our licence terminated.”
The Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications gave Excell permission to extend the tariffs on January 5, she said, in a notice that warned of possible punishment for companies that continued to violate the new rules.
Officials from MPTC were unavailable for comment Monday.
Excell would also have to discontinue a special promotion for new users that offered within-network calls well below the new minimum tariff at $0.00025 per minute, San Bora said.
The company, she added, has yet to devise new tariffs to replace those that violate the new regulations, which came into effect on December 22. A ministry secretary of state, Sarak Khan, has since told the Post that the ministry would be flexible on the new prakas to give companies a chance to comply. The edict was signed on December 7 and announced on December 9.
San Bora also noted that one document attached to the permission letter allowing extension of the tariffs singled out Smart Mobile and qb, saying they were ignoring ministry regulations. She declined to elaborate further.
Qb was unavailable for comment Monday, and Smart Mobile CEO Thomas Hundt declined to comment further on previous interviews on the issue with the Post.
Smart Mobile has said it has “severe concerns and reservations” over the new rules, and that it was in discussions with the ministry regarding the issue.
Meanwhile, Hello CEO Simon Perkins said Monday that he had received ministry warnings that his firm still did not comply with new regulations on two counts – Hello’s super off-peak tariff and a weekend rate for an old plan.
“So for us, it’s a limited effect,” he said.
Beeline, which has removed from its Web site references to its Super Zero tariff that offers free within-network calls between the second and 14th minute, has yet to announce its pricing strategy following the new edict. Managing Director Gael Campan declined to comment Monday.
Beeline was at the centre of the pricing debate when Mobitel took legal action against the firm in August, accusing it of price-dumping for offering cross-network calls on its previous Boom tariff at $0.05 per minute, below the $0.0595-per-minute rate as part of a long-standing agreement that the ministry reinforced as part of the new prakas last month.
Mobitel has since moved to adjust its tariffs, but given Beeline’s recent silence it remains unclear whether it has also improved connectivity with Beeline after the latter complained the dominant player was deliberately blocking calls.