C&W victorious against Digicel

Cable & Wireless Communications
has defended itself in the UK High Court against claims it unlawfully delayed
Digicel’s entry into the Caribbean telecoms market between 2002 and 2006.

Mr. Justice Morgan handed down a
judgement in the High Court dismissing all the claims brought by Digicel,
except for in the Turks & Caicos where he found a minor breach of contract
but ruled it caused Digicel no delay and thus no loss.  Cable & Wireless Communications will now
take action against Digicel to seek the reimbursement of its costs of defending
the matter.

Tony Rice, Cable & Wireless
Communications CEO commented:“This is a resounding victory for Cable &
Wireless Communications. This case has been a pointless waste of time and
money. It was brought by Digicel on the eve of our AGM in July 2007 amid a
fanfare of publicity and a statement that its claim was for several hundreds of
millions of pounds. We maintained throughout that the case was baseless, and
the UK High Court has now vindicated this. I am delighted that we have won and
are now free from this unnecessary distraction”

Digicel said the ruling would not
hinder its operations.

“We are extremely disappointed with
the decision of the High Court in London with regard to Digicel’s court action
against Cable & Wireless Communications plc and related entities with
respect to their alleged engagement in illegal behaviour designed to frustrate
and delay Digicel’s entry into various markets in the Caribbean. Following this
decision, Digicel is currently considering its legal options,” read a Digicel
statement.

“Mr. Justice Morgan variously
describes senior executives of TSTT (which is a telecoms firm in Trinidad &
Tobago part owned by Cable & Wireless Communications plc) and its contractor,
Nortel, as ‘acting contrary to honest practices and thereby breaking the law in
Trinidad with two defined breaches of the Protection Against Unfair    Competition Act 1996’ and ‘  deliberately giving false or misleading evidence
at the trial.’

“Whilst Mr. Justice Morgan has
ruled against Digicel on various points of law related to this court action,
the outcome should be attributed to the weak regulatory frameworks in place in
these Caribbean jurisdictions. Indeed, the Judge himself described the legislation
as being poorly drafted,” the statement read.

“As a champion of competition for
the good of consumers, Digicel believes that Cable & Wireless
Communications plc should be brought to book. As such, Digicel will be asking
the Telecommunications Authority of Trinidad & Tobago to conduct a full
inquiry into this matter to determine whether punitive action should be taken
against TSTT in Trinidad — particularly taking into account the Judge’s
finding that TSTT and Nortel conspired to produce false and misleading
documents that were provided to TATT.

“To be clear, the outcome of this
court action has no impact on Digicel’s operations or customer base across the
globe. Digicel is proud to be the leading mobile provider across the Caribbean
and to be delivering its special brand of best value, best service and best
network mobile communications to 10.7 million customers across its 32 markets
worldwide.”

David Shaw, CEO of LIME,
commented:“The UK High Court has seen through Digicel’s accusations
as we always said they would
. At LIME, our approach to business is
clear. We’re focused on winning for our customers which means operating with
integrity and delivering solutions that customers expect and deserve. We can
now put aside unnecessary distractions and get down to the challenge of growing
our business in the face of the economic challenges facing Caribbean markets.
This victory certainly gives us some momentum to get on with the task at hand.”

Background on the case

The case involved claims that the
Cable & Wireless Communications Group had breached the telecoms statutes in
six Caribbean territories (Barbados, Cayman, St Lucia, St Vincent & the
Grenadines, Grenada and the Turk & Caicos Islands) which Digicel was
entering as a competitor to Cable & Wireless (now LIME) between 2002-06.
Similar allegations were also made against TSTT, the Trinidad &
Tobago-based telecom operator, in which Cable & Wireless Communications
holds a minority stake.

Digicel also alleged senior
management of Cable & Wireless plc, the then parent company of Cable &
Wireless Communications Group, had been involved in a ‘conspiracy’ to delay its
entry into these markets..

The judgement dismissed all of the
claims in the seven territories and the overarching conspiracy claim with the
minor exception that the Judge found a breach of a short letter agreement with
Digicel in the Turks & Caicos Islands, but which he ruled caused Digicel no
delay and thus no loss.

The case was heard over 77 sitting
days in the High Court in London, UK, and heard evidence from 43 witnesses.

The ruling follows LIME’s other
recent court victories over Digicel including:

Its successful defence, with the
Jamaica Office of Utilities Regulation, of Digicel’s appeal to the UK Privy
Council on interconnection and call termination rates (January, 2010)

An injunction against Digicel
ordering it to restore circuits it blocked in a dispute over international
calls (February, 2010)

The dismissal of Digicel’s contempt
of court claims brought against officers of LIME  in connection in the same international calls
dispute (June, 2009)

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