By: L.N. Reklai
October 23, 2017 (Koror, Palau) Palau Telecom has 2G and integrated 3G services currently available, asserted owner Sam Masang, contrary to what was stated at the public hearing.
“We have a 2G system now and we have been assigned number from ITU (International Telecom Union) and have been assigned frequency by Ministry of Infrastructure, Industries and Commerce but we cannot deploy because PNCC would not allow us to interconnect with them despite having a tariff in place,” stated Mr. Masang expressing his frustration. [restrict]
According to Mr. Masang, their request to interconnect with PNCC was approved by PNCC Board in 2013 but since then requests to interconnect have not materialized.
Under the interconnection agreement, PNCC requires that Palau Telecom use PNCC’s satellites and long distance system. Mr. Masang said this was rejected as they had already invested in their own gateway using O3B systems.
“Our system cost millions and made no sense to use PNCC’s gateway,” added Masang.
PNCC, in response to this issue, stated that the interconnection tariff does require companies wanting to interconnect with PNCC to use PNCC’s international gateway.
According to PNCC, in absence of an independent regulator, PNCC is tasked with protecting its system from voice and/or data from external threats. For anyone to interconnect with PNCC, it will be assigning them numbers and be required to use their international gateway.
“That is the reason we told them to wait until the new policy on telecommunication is passed because that will create an independent regulator,” stated Myers Techitong of PNCC.
Mr. Masang in a letter to President Remengesau Jr. dated September 12, 2017, raised the issue of PNCC’s requirement to use their numbers as well as PNCC’s international gateway. The letter also raises concern about the pricing for interconnection, which Masang state is the same as their retail package rates putting them at price disadvantage.
Interconnections service means that two or more telecom have agreement allowing their customers to use their phones to call customers of other providers. An example would be Palau Telecom cellular numbers will be 880s and they can call 775, 776, 779, 778 and 488 PNCC numbers and vice versa. [/restrict]