Liberalised telecoms bring lower tariffs, better
"Nearly one in two persons in Malta today own a mobile telephone.
This considerable increase is a result of the gradual liberalisation
of the telecommunications market, where consumers today are benefiting
from lower tariffs and a better service" announced Transport and
Communications Minister, Censu Galea during a forum entitled Clients
rights in a liberalised telecommunications environment. Are you informed?
Organised by the Malta Communications Authority (MCA) in conjunction
with the Consumers Affairs Council, the forum was aimed at bringing
together the operators and their clients, to inform them and seek their
views on the relevant legislation, in respect of the existing scenario
and of the forthcoming changes in telecommunications.
The Minister for Transport and Communications added that, "Competition
has also had the same impact in other sectors. The number of internet
subscribers now amounts to almost 32 per cent of the whole population.
Furthermore, the approval by Parliament earlier this year of the Electronic
Commerce Act, the enactment of the distance selling regulations and
the measures being taken by the e-Malta commission to promote an information
society and economy in Malta, are all initiatives which are being undertaken
to make information society a reality in Malta. In fact, the coming
into force of the E-Commerce Act will mean that certain transactions
carried out on the internet will now have the force of law. The new
norms on distance selling mean that consumers are entitled to certain
rights including notably the right to reject the product purchases within
a cooling-off period of 15 days from the receipt of the product."
Speaking about the role of the Malta Communications Authority in a liberalised
telecommunications environment, MCA Chairman Joseph V. Tabone said that
"In accordance with the Malta Communications Authoritys mandate
and in line with its strategies, the Authority has a number of duties
and responsibilities including promoting the interest of consumers.
In this respect the MCA is currently finalizing a code of practice for
internet service providers (ISPs), after discussions with the ISP sub-section
of the Chamber of Commerce."
This code of practice is intended as a means of self-regulation with
regard to ISPs interaction with the public and amongst themselves.
The programme of the forum also included a keynote address by the Director
of ENCIP (European Network for Communications and Information Perspective)
Dr Jacques Arlandis. In his presentation Dr Arlandis spoke about ICT
market developments, assessing the impact of new regulation schemes
and comparing consumer expectations to the supply of commitment services
Dr Arlandis address was followed by eight presentations by representatives
of the telecommunications and the information society industries. The
telecommunications panel was composed of Antoinette Camilleri, customer
care manager, Vodafone Malta Ltd, Dr Mario Caruana, senior legal counsel,
Maltacom plc, Michael Balzan, senior executive, customer care, go mobile
and Benny Borg Bonello, president of the Maltese Consumers Association,
while the information society panel consisted of Dr Michael Frendo,
managing partner, Gatt, Frendo, Tufigno, Frank Leiter, chief executive
officer, Melita Cable plc, Victor Camilleri, e-government project manager,
CIMU and Carmen Delia, Chairman, Consumer Affairs Council.
The forum came to an end with a discussion session and a closing address
by Dr Paul E. Micallef, Senior Legal Advisor for the Malta Communications