Digicel takes C&W to court

Digicel Group Ltd. has issued a claim in the English High Court against Cable and Wireless and various subsidiaries seeking multi-million pound damages.

Digicel claims that C&W was engaged in illegal behaviour by impeding and delaying Digicel’s entry into various telecommunications markets in the English-speaking Caribbean.

In a press release issued yesterday, Digicel said it also believes that it has been the victim of a coordinated effort on C&W’s part to prevent and delay Digicel launching competing mobile telephone networks in St Lucia, St Vincent & the Grenadines, Grenada, Barbados, the Cayman Islands, Trinidad & Tobago and the Turks and Caicos Islands.

The obstructions and delays by C&W, between 2002 and 2006, have resulted in substantial damages and as a result Digicel’s claim covers:

• Losses of revenue, profits and market share;

• Restitutionary damages from C&W for the gains and benefits made by C&W as a result of its unlawful conduct and;

• Exemplary damages (compensation in excess of actual damages) and interest.

The damages sought by Digicel should amount to several hundreds of millions of pounds.

It is expected that the claim will come to the High Court in 2008.

‘We are extremely frustrated with the continual illegal obstructions that we have encountered from C&W. We believe that a successful claim will not only compensate Digicel for the losses it has suffered but also that it will put an end to the anti-competitive practices of C&W. This will be of undoubted benefit to all network operators and more importantly all mobile users in the Caribbean,’ said Denis O’Brien, chairman of Digicel.

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