HKT defends against OFCA's "highly inflammatory" statements

HKT defends against OFCA's HKT has moved to defend itself from what it has called “highly inflammatory and potentially very damaging” statements from OFCA that it did not do enough to limit disruption to customers after suspending two mobile virtual network operator (MVNO) operations for unpaid dues.

MVNOs provide repackaged mobile services using established mobile operators' networks.

At a meeting of the Telecommunications Regulatory Affairs Advisory Committee (TRAAC), convened by OFCA and comprising industry bodies, market practitioners and government representatives, HKT said OFCA made statements about HKT's conduct that were false and misleading.

In an open letter to all TRAAC members, HKT criticized the chairman of the TRAAC for “behav[ing] in an overly hostile manner” and “openly and directly blam[ing]” HKT for problems faced by consumers caused by the cessation of services by MVNOs Easycall and CMMobile.

HKT suspended the supply of mobile virtual network enabler services to CMMobile in January and services for Easycall in April after both MVNOs fell behind in their required payments.

According to the letter, at the time of the suspension, Easycall had total outstanding debt of HK$10 million, while CMMobile's debt was HK$80 million, including HK$15 million of outstanding payment and a HK$65 million additional contractual commitment.

HKT said it remained in constant contact with OFCA during the process involving suspending the two services, and in both cases complied with requests to delay pulling the trigger to minimize disruption to customers.

But the operator acknowledged that in both cases it declined a request from OFCA to delay the deactivation for a longer period to minimize disruption – OFCA had requested a three month delay in the case of CMMobile and a one month delay in the case of Easycall.

HKT said in both cases the MVNOs had ample time to either pay their unpaid dues or prepare for a suspension, including by informing customers.

First published in TelecomAsia