Details for TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER AWARENESS AND EDUCATIONAL

TELECOMMUNICATIONS CONSUMER AWARENESS AND EDUCATIONAL
INFORMATION ON TELECOMMUNICATIONS SERVICES ACROSS VANUATU
How to Lodge a Complaint to TRR for its Mediation
TRR wishes to inform all good users of mobile services across the country that if you have
any issues regarding coverage, any other services offered by the Telecommunications
Operators, it is important that you follow the following complaint handling steps:
• A consumer/Customer must submit his/her complaint to his or her service provider
(TVL or Digicel in terms of mobile (voice) services and make sure you keep record of
your complaint details sent to your service provider;
• If your service provider has not responded to you within 5 days, you have the
right to bring forward your recorded issue (sent to your service provider) to TRR for
mediation;
• If your service provider has provided its response and still you have not satisfied
with that response, you also have the right to bring forward to the TRR for its
mediation.
• For more information, visit TRR’s website on the following link: http://www.trr.vu/
index.php/en/consumer/consumer-protection/voicing-your-complaint or call TRR
on 27621 and or email enquiries@trr.vu.
Brief Understanding on the implementation of Government Universal Access Policy
(UAP)
The Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulator (TRR) is the
implementation Authority for the Government of Vanuatu’s Universal Access Policy
(UAP) endorsed by the Council of Ministers in November 2013. The UAP has the core
objective of providing access to telecommunications services such as voice; narrowband
data services including text messaging and broadband internet services that shall
enable download speed of at least 21 Mbps and upload speed of at least 12 Mbps.
The UAP targets those areas that are classified as unserved or underserved with regards
to accessing the above listed telecommunications services.
Understanding Population Coverage versus Geographical Coverage
One of the biggest areas of misinterpretation and misinformation is in respect to
coverage. The public at large still misinterprets that population coverage equates to
geographical coverage. If we consider population coverage, the TRR has based its
analysis on the 2009 census population data, freely available on the Vanuatu National
Statistics Office (VSNO) website. This data provides the distribution of population
across the country and can be mapped to provide a physical representation of this
distribution.
On the other hand, the geographical coverage refers to the coverage of the landmass
of Vanuatu, despite whether there are people living there or not at all. Geographical
coverage in terms of the UAP is costly and highly uneconomical for the Operators in
particularly Digicel and TVL who are currently rolling out to meet the 98% population
coverage. It would be true that these operators do not want to expend capital to
provide coverage to an area, where there is no population at all, and they are unable to
achieve a return on their investment.
Other Important Information on the UAP Obligations and Challenges
To be able to reach the 98% population coverage as required by the UAP, the Government
of that time has identified 21 sites (villages and/or communities) across Vanuatu. TRR
has had to collaborate and be guided by the Operators (TVL and Digicel) in selecting
these sites (were effectively unserved or underserved), and that will contributed to
the 98% population target, provided a moderate return on their investment and were
within reason from a logistics point of view. The operators agreed to construct 21 sites
funded entirely from their own capital budgets, with no funds being allocated by the
government or any other funding urgency for this infrastructure build. The Operators
also agreed to a reasonably aggressive timeline of 2 years for this construction of these
new towers and an upgrade of all sites to 3G technology.
In meeting these obligations the Operators have had to negotiate their way through a
number of challenges such as land disputes, rental demands, labour demands, theft
and other such demands beyond the scope of any normal business relationship. Whilst
these issues could have stopped the Operators from building they have in good faith
found alternatives and continued to construct for the betterment of the country.
It should still be recognised that to even cover the final few percent and to ensure the
UAP target of 98% of the population having access to services, has meant that TVL and
Digicel have invested over 900 million vatu, of their own capital, to construct 21 towers
across the country to ensure telecommunications services are available, affordable
and accessible to the number of unserved and underserved areas across Vanuatu. In
Vanuatu’s case it is difficult to find that level of private investment into the country that
is not governmental or in some way donated.
The UAP is ongoing and evolving and although the policy being implemented now is due
for completion at the end of 2017, further policies requiring more access and greater
services are likely to be developed. These newer policies will take consideration of
the changing environment, newer technologies and greater partnerships between
government and private enterprise.
Whilst this development, the Office of the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications
Regulator (TRR) is receiving complains indirectly regarding the implementation of the
Universal Access Policy, the TRR is off the opinion that the general public are lacking
knowledge on the implementation scope of the Policy. The TRR believes that with this
column, it will clarify some of the unanswered questions. However the TRR invites
and welcome anyone to its Office, who wish to further discuss and understand the
implementation of the Universal Access Policy.

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