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'Door is open' for UK telecoms firms

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‘THE door is always open’ for UK providers to offer mobile, landline and broadband services to customers in the Channel Islands, a director of the islands’ competition watchdog has said.

'Door is open' for UK telecoms firms

The comments come after the latest customer satisfaction report revealed that Jersey and Guernsey residents who were surveyed are less satisfied across the board than their UK counterparts when it comes to telecoms services.

Jersey customers were, on average, 16.5 per cent less satisfied than those in the UK (72.5% compared with 89%) across all four areas surveyed – landline, mobile, broadband and bundles – according to the report.

Louise Read, director of the Channel Islands Competition and Regulatory Authorities, urged customers to ‘shop around’ or complain to their providers if they were dissatisfied.

She said there was ‘room for improvement’ and that customers in the Island should be achieving similar levels of satisfaction to those in the UK.

There are only four telecommunications operators in Jersey – JT, Sure, Airtel and Newtel, although the latter does not offer phone services.

Michael Byrne, chief executive of CICRA, has described the mobile phone market in Jersey as ‘unsustainable’ and said the watchdog was looking to UK providers to see if they were interested in offering services to Jersey clients.

His comments followed an EU ruling that abolished roaming charges for phone customers within the EU. Customers in Jersey and Guernsey, which are not in the EU, could not benefit.

However, since the EU ruling providers have introduced new rates and offers for Islanders travelling in the EU.

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Asked if increasing competition, by encouraging UK providers to offer services in the islands, would drive up standards, Mrs Read said there was no ‘magic number’ of providers that would represent perfect competition.

However, she added: ‘Attracting UK providers here is not something we go out and drum up support for but the door is always open to providers that want to offer new, different and sustainable services.

‘We want to make sure customers here have access to the best services.’

In response to the survey, which was completed by 857 adults across both islands, Peter Zunino, head of marketing for Airtel, said the results were ‘a great testament to our focus, investment and commitment’. Among Jersey providers Airtel was ranked highest in terms of overall satisfaction in the mobile market compared with JT and Sure.

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