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Smart Mobile defiant on mobile-tariff rules

Smart Mobile defiant on mobile-tariff rules

Cell phone service provider says it needs more time and notes ‘severe concerns’ over new regulations.

PHONE operator Smart Mobile has left its tariffs unchanged despite a government edict setting minimum prices in the sector, saying it has “severe concerns and reservations” over the new pricing regulations.

Smart Mobile Chief Executive Officer Thomas Hundt also said the time frame for compliance with the government prakas, which was signed December 7 and took effect December 22, was unreasonable.

“Smart Mobile is currently conducting discussions with [the Ministry of Posts and Telecommunications] in regard to the prakas; however, Smart Mobile’s WOW offer remains valid unchanged until further notice,” he said.

“Besides Smart Mobile’s general severe concerns and reservations in regard to this regulation, a potential revision of Smart Mobile’s tariff plan does require significantly more time than granted with the prakas.”

Smart Mobile’s WOW offer remains valid unchanged until further notice.

His comments followed a Post article last Thursday that mistakenly said the company had dropped its free minutes offering from its WOW Tariff, which gives customers up to 30 minutes of free calls a day within the Smart Mobile network when they top up with $5 or more of credit.
Those who top up with less also get free minutes, but not as many.

That article came after Smart Mobile dropped reference to the free minutes from the pricing schedule published on its Web site. “From now on, you can enjoy great calling rates within the network and across network calls are charged at only 2 cents per 15 seconds,” the Web site now states.

Mao Chakrya, director general at the telecoms ministry, said last week that operators which fail to comply with the edict by the deadline risk the suspension or cancellation of their operating licences.

Into line
Most of the Kingdom’s nine operators were already in line with the minimum tariffs or have since altered their pricing structures.

Only Smart Mobile, qb, which is owned by CADCOMMS, and Beeline appear to have pricing structures at odds with the new directive, which bans free minutes and sets minimum tariffs of $0.045 per minute, not including taxes, for calls within a network.

It also makes binding a long-standing agreement setting the cost for across-network calls at $0.0595 per minute.

Special call promotions of up to one month are possible in which within-network calls can drop to 50 percent of the minimum tariff, but these require prior approval.

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