Public say in a new cellphone company

Thursday 27 August 2020 | Written by Rashneel Kumar | Published in Technology

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Public say in a new cellphone company
Bernard Hill. 20022012

The public is to be consulted extensively about the legal framework before a new phone operator can be licensed to compete with Vodafone.

Bernard Hill, chairman of the new Competition and Regulatory Authority, said they were working on issues around licensing a second mobile telephone operator.

“This is likely to involve an extensive public consultation later this year or early 2021, Hill said.

William Framhein, from Orama Limited, confirmed they had applied for a licence to set up a new mobile phone company to rival Vodafone Cook Islands.

However, he said the regulator was “in a bit dilemma at the moment” because the legislation – Competition and Regulatory Bill and the Telecommunications Bill – “has some shortcomings in terms of things like getting a board set up.”

They had also requested their licence be given under the previous legislation: “Orama is in court at the moment. We were scheduled to have another stage of the (court) process in March and then airports closed so we don’t know when that’s going to continue,” he said.

The Court is set to consider a judicial review on whether to issue Orama Ltd licences for the operations of a cell phone network and satellite communication.

“It’s a bit of a dilemma for the government that we are asking for our licence to be given under the old legislation,” Framhein said.

“The new legislation provides for two (licences) and so it’s bit of a tricky one for the regulator, he can’t move.

“For that second mobile, really the ball is in our court but if he goes ahead and issues the second licence, he can’t do that for another four years because the transition period is four years before he can issue any licence.”