By Sharlyne Eri – EMT News Port Moresby
The Independent Consumer and Competition Commission (ICCC) has come out clear on its role following a response by Public Enterprise and State Investment Minister William Duma in Parliament recently.
The ICCC says while responding to East Sepik Governor Alan Bird’s question on the recent hike in mobile phone charges by Telikom, Minister Duma had mentioned several incorrect statements about ICCC’s role relating to the Telecommunication industry.
According to ICCC, Minister Duma, in a newspaper article, mentioned the following misleading statement about its role;
1. Internet and telephone charges and prices are fixed by ICCC;
2. A “170 per cent increase” in mobile phone service fees charged by Telikom “remains to be clarified by ICCC;
3. “There are certain increases that have been approved by ICCC; and
4. that necessary increases “have been approved by ICCC to enable our companies to provide decent dividends for our people.
Commissioner and CEO Paulus Ain said while ICCC regulates other SOEs such as PNG Power, MVIL, Post PNG and PNG Ports, it does not regulate Telikom or Bemobile.
He said the National Information and Communications Authority (NICTA) is the mandated authority responsible for the economic and technical regulator of the ICT industry.
Under the National Information Communications Technology Act 2010, ICCC’s role as the ICT regulator was passed on to NICTA.
Prior to 2010, ICCC was the economic regulator of the telecommunications industry, and that it was responsible for setting the prices of telecommunication services and the inter-connection rates between the competing telecommunication service providers.
During that time, the PNG Telecommunications and Radio Communication Technical Authority (PANGTEL) was the technical regulator of the industry, until 2010 when the
The government repealed the Telecommunications Act and replaced it with the National Information Communications Technology Act, which saw NICTA emerge as the new technical and economic regulator of the ICT industry.
Mr Ain said ICCC still maintains its role as a consumer watchdog by being the first point of call where consumers can register complaints, and that they only address according to legislation that ICCC administers.
Complaints that are not under ICCC’s jurisdiction are forwarded to organizations that have the legal basis to directly deal with them.