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Nov 30, 2009

Smart strikes back at Telemedia

Story PictureSince august twenty-fourth, when the government acquired Telemedia, its competitor, Smart, has come under fire. Last week, Telemedia took down Smart’s equipment from towers at Benny’s and in Ladyville, crippling services along the Northern Highway to Ladyville. Telemedia’s Head of Marketing, Dionne Miranda, claimed that Smart had an illegal connection for that area and that it connected its equipment without authorization to Telemedia’s tower at its headquarters on St. Thomas Street. This afternoon, Smart fired back and said Miranda’s assessment of Smart was erroneous and grossly unfair.

Ian Courtenay, P.R., Smart
“Mrs. Miranda painted a dubious, shady picture of Smart, basically affecting our image and we just wanted to clear the air with our customers and there is nothing further from the truth. We are a customer of BTL, probably on of their biggest and that we are paying for services that they are supplying us. They beat on the fact that we have refused to negotiate, we don’t respond to their proposals or anything like that… I don’t know who they are negotiating with, but we at Smart have received no proposals or request of negotiation. Our C.E.O. told you last week this very statement. So to say that we sabotaged ourselves is grossly unfair. She accused us of having illegal connections and that the E1’s that were disconnected was something that was disconnected by our request and we stated that we had an E1 connection that was used for satellite connection. We requested in August that that be disconnected, which was done and we have an email from them stating that it had taken effect. What they have now disconnected is the connection for our tower, which provides cell service in the Ladyville area—Ladyville and Benny’s tower on Northern Highway. And then they also had—she stated we had an illegal antenna and illegal access was gained to the roof of their building and we installed an antenna. We’re just saying that that antenna was installed in 2005 when we had the dispute and there was very little access to tower then. The antenna was used to monitor and effect repair to our switch. We found that with a slight upgrade we could use the antenna to pass our international voice, which is what we did. Our staff entered, was on a list of approved staff members, they signed in, they did their work and signed out. So it wasn’t any under cover, secret, hidden in the dark of night sort of operation.”

Rhojani Perriott, Communications Consultant, Smart
“Our international services as pf right now, the capacity for international voice and the capacity for roaming, those services are off. However, our customers can still send international S.M.S. and get text messages as well as we are able to get some sort of calls in from outside. As respect to the roaming services and the voicing services, us calling out, Smart customers calling out those are the ones that are down.”

Ian Courtenay
“To date we have received a letter requesting documentations and stipulating certain things but we still feel that we would like the P.U.C. to act firmly and decisively in favour of the consumer. Give us back our access and then mediate and negotiation for what it will cost us to provide it but don’t deny our customers the access.”

Courtenay says despite being off the Ladyville and Benny’s towers, they have restored some limited service in the area.

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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