What is Interconnection?
Interconnection is the physical linking of a Telecommunication carriers networks to another Carriers networks. An interconnection can be in the form of cable link or microwave link.
When a telecommunication market opens to competition, the number of telecommunications networks, operators and services grow. If the users of these different networks are to take full advantage of the diversity of services and enjoy unhindered, transparent communication, all networks must be interconnected. Where there is more than one operator, interconnection is currently the only way to connect the different telecommunication networks so that all users can freely communicate.
Interconnecting the infrastructures of telecommunication networks allows the exchange of services, in particular voice, data and SMS traffic, to flow from one network to another.
The operators have interconnection agreements or agreements mediated by TRR, to charge each other for the interconnection services provided.
On the 5th of May 2016 TVL and Digicel agreed on an amended schedule of prices for their 2014 interconnection agreement. These rates will be in effect until 2018 when the existing agreement expires and another will be re-negotiated.
It is a requirement under Section 26 the Telecommunications and Radiocommunications Regulation Act that service providers enter into interconnection agreements in order to allow them to access to the other’s network.
Since the liberalization of the telecommunications market in 2008, Telecom Vanuatu Limited (TVL) and Digicel (Vanuatu) Limited are the two major service providers that are providing telecommunications services and for which an interconnection agreement between them is essential for fair competition to occur.
An Interim Interconnection Agreement between TVL and Digicel was signed for the period 25 June 2008 -25 June 2010. That was replaced by an Interconnection Agreement between TVL and Digicel which was negotiated and executed on 8 June 2012. This interconnection agreement became effective as of 26 June 2012 and will expire on 26 June 2016.
On 1st of April 2014, the two operators negotiated and executed a new interconnection agreement, without referral to TRR, and that is now in force. The agreement was then amended on 16th July 2014.
The existing Interconnection Agreement between TVL and Digicel was negotiated and executed on 8 June 2012, without referral to the Telecom Regulator. This interconnection agreement was effective as of 26 June 2012 and will expire on 26 June 2016.
Interim Interconnection Agreement: 25 June 2008 -25 June 2010
The previous terms governing interconnection between TVL and Digicel network for voice and SMS traffic were contained in the Interim Interconnection Agreement (the “Agreement”) dated 13 March 2008, which came into effect on 25 June 2008 and had a term of four (4) years. The agreement was reviewable after 20 months of the effective date.
In March 2010, TVL and Digicel tried to re-negotiate the existing prices under the Agreement in good faith for a period of over 20 working days but were unable to reach agreement and referred the dispute to TRR for determination. TRR released its Final Determination on 9 July 2010 then was reviewed in January 2011 at Digicel request, and ended in June 2012.