The Parties to this Declaration are Cable & Wireless Communications, LLC (CWC), the Digicel Group (Digicel) and the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Science and Technology.
This Declaration seeks to promote the reduction of intra-CARICOM roaming charges and facilitate the provision of seamless mobile (cellular) services, including voice, SMS text and data, across the boundaries of the CARICOM Member States and Associate Member States (the CARICOM States), through collaboration with operators resident in CARICOM markets for the benefit of their CARICOM customers.
This Declaration is intended to benefit customers who are resident within CARICOM States. The roaming services provided to Non-CARICOM visitors served by Non-CARICOM operators with whom CWC and Digicel have roaming agreements are not included.
- The Twenty-Eighth (28th) Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference of Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) approved the Vision and Roadmap for the CARICOM Single ICT Space on 16th February 2017 in Georgetown, Guyana. The Roadmap elaborates a vision for an ICT-enabled borderless space that fosters economic, social and cultural integration for the betterment of Caribbean citizens.
- Dr. the Rt. Honorable Keith Mitchell, Prime Minister of Grenada and Lead Head of Government with responsibility for Science and Technology within CARICOM, and the Honorable Mia Mottley, Prime Minister of Barbados, together representing the CARICOM Conference of Heads of Government, met with Mr. Denis O’Brien, Chairman of Digicel and Ms. Inge Smidts, Chief Executive Officer of CWC on 16th June 2021.
- At this meeting, Prime Minister Keith Mitchell underscored the importance of the elimination of intra-CARICOM roaming in achieving common frameworks for Governments, ICT service providers and consumers and the overall objective of promoting the CARICOM region as a Single ICT Space and supporting the CARICOM Single Market and Economy (CSME).
- In light of this, the Honourable Prime Ministers requested Digicel and CWC to:-
- Provide meaningful support to the CARICOM Heads of Government’s policy initiative to establish the CARICOM Single ICT Space in support of the CARICOM Single Market and Economy.
- Work towards eliminating roaming charges for mobile voice, SMS text and data usage among the CARICOM and Associate Member States in their respective markets.
- Meet with a team appointed by CARICOM Heads of Government (CARICOM Team) to reach a consensus on immediate initiatives to support the CARICOM policy direction.
- Digicel and CWC have both committed to exploring reasonable ways to support the policy of CARICOM Heads of Government.
- The unpredictable cost of mobile roaming serves as a deterrent for CARICOM citizens to use their mobile phones as they travel through the region;
- CARICOM citizens sometimes suffer “bill shock” at the end of a CARICOM trip;
- Roaming charges could be more transparent and affordable; and
- The ability to roam among the CARICOM States at reasonable costs is an essential characteristic in promoting greater connectivity within the CARICOM Single ICT Space and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy;
- The CARICOM Team commenced discussions with representatives of Digicel and CWC from 19th August 2021, with a view to identifying effective and feasible measures to substantially reduce roaming charges among the CARICOM States in order to satisfy the following criteria in the provision of intra-CARICOM roaming services:-
- Improved customer experience.
The importance of the reduction of Intra-CARICOM roaming charges in facilitating the CARICOM Single ICT Space and the CARICOM Single Market and Economy, CWC and Digicel have respectively undertaken to submit a Roaming Proposal which will outline their detailed plan to achieve the objectives of this Declaration upon signature of this Agreement.
The CARICOM Team accepts that all parties shall fulfil in good faith their commitment to pursue the objectives of this Declaration in the elimination of bill shock, the improvement of customer experience and the availability of roaming for mobile voice, SMS text and data usage on the networks of CWC and Digicel in all CARICOM States.
Digicel and CWC HEREBY COMMIT TO:
- Implement the new roaming model, which will be set out in their respective Proposals.
- Honour the principles and conditions contained within their Proposals.
- Implement their Proposals in 2022.
- Provide semi-annual updates in relation to the status of implementation of their Proposals.
- Advise the CARICOM Team on any subsequent intended changes to their Proposals in a timely manner.
THE PARTIES HEREBY AGREE TO CONTINUE COLLABORATION AND COOPERATION IN RELATION TO:
- Advancing implementation of the fundamental elements of the Vision and Roadmap for a CARICOM Single ICT Space within the region by analyzing through regional expertise and international studies the implications and challenges posed by OTT Operators and BigTech Companies and the impact of other evolving technologies within CARICOM and the Associated Member States;
- Sharing of the in-depth professional studies that have been commissioned and received by CARICOM/CTU concerning the taxation of OTTs and the potential regulatory framework for CARICOM telecom service providers in order to receive their respective observations and to consult on any policy prescriptions;
- Advancing towards a more harmonised regulatory environment in all the CARICOM Member States;
- Improving the overall customer experience by promoting greater regional connectivity;
- Improving the ease of doing business in the telecommunications and ICT sector within the CARICOM region and developing policies that encourage investments and lessen the financial burden on the operators and encourage reinvestment in the telecoms/ICT sector;
- Considering ways to reduce the costs of operation for CARICOM based providers, including, among other things, license and universal service fees.
|Dr. the Rt. Hon. Keith Mitchell|
|Prime Minister of Grenada|
|Mr. Kieran Mulvey||Mr. Kurleigh Prescod|
|Director, Government Affairs||Vice President South Caribbean|
|DIGICEL Group||Cable & Wireless Communications|
Date: 23rd February 2022