As part of its mandate to liberalise and to regulate the telecommunications and broadcasting sectors in Trinidad and Tobago, Section 82 of the Telecommunications Act, 2001 requires the Authority to establish a dispute resolution process to be utilised in the event of a complaint or dispute arising between parties in respect of the following:

Complaints by users, operators of telecommunications networks, providers of telecommunications and broadcasting services or other persons arising out of the operation of a public telecommunications network, or the provision of a telecommunications or broadcasting service, in respect of rates, billings and services provided generally (Section 18(1)(m) of the Act);

Disputes arising between concessionaires relating to any aspect of interconnection, including the failure to conclude an agreement made pursuant to paragraph (e), or disputes as to price and any technical or other term and condition for any element of interconnection (Section 25(2)(h) of the Act);

Where a negotiated settlement as required under Section 26 of the Act cannot be achieved; or

Any other matter that the Authority considers appropriate.

Dispute Resolution Procedures

In January 2006, the Authority published the Procedures for the Resolution of Disputes in the Telecommunications and Broadcasting Sectors of Trinidad and Tobago. This document was revised in March 2010 (“the Procedures”).

In the liberalization of telecommunications markets, disputes among operators may arise due to various competition issues including interconnection, pricing and traffic agreements. In the Caribbean, the major challenge of regulators has been disputes that arise between operators over interconnection agreements and Trinidad and Tobago is no exception.

In March 2006, the first dispute was filed with the Authority under the Procedures, which related to a failure of the incumbent and a new market entrant to arrive at an agreement as to mobile termination rates during interconnection negotiations. Since then, three other disputes pertaining to interconnection rates have been filed with the Authority between 2006 and 2008, with the last one resulting in a decision which treated with mobile termination rates, fixed interconnection rates and transit rates.

In addition, in 2007 and 2008 two disputes between radio broadcasters have been submitted to the Authority to award and assess compensation for harmful interference.