Dear Sir,
Andrew Junior from Narere, Suva thinks the cost of telephone calls will be cheaper in Solomon Islands now that Our Telekom has lowered its mobile and fixed line rates by up to 50 per cent.

My humble view is that the opposite is true. Telephone calls will be a lot more expensive because each call is now time-based and controlled. It's a proven fact that TIMED CALLS are much more expensive.

The announcement by Our Telekom is merely a marketing tool to lure unsuspecting customers.

Beware. Every call from now on will be timed. It means that Our Telekom starts charging the moment one lifts a handset to make a call on fixed lines.

On the mobiles, it means the moment the call button is squeezed, charges will begin. How fast Our Telekom sets its clock or timing device is anyone's guess.

Even if the called party does not answer, the caller still gets charged for making the call, unlike in the past.

For the record, in Australia one major telco carrier was unsuccessful in trying to introduce timed call charges in the late 80s. A mass walkout, threatened by customers to join other carriers forced the telco to can the proposal.

That's the luxury or choice we don't have in Solomon Islands. If there's another operator, I am sure there'll be a revolt.

If there's one positive I see in this, it is discipline in telephone use in terms of time.

Other than that, this latest move is a convenient time for the Government to deregulate the telco industry to allow other players such as the Irish-owned Digicel to move in.

Only in this way can the people of this nation be see the value of competition and service.

One would hope that another player is allowed in sooner rather than later.

Also, one would hope incidences of daily daylight robberies we see inflicted with impunity on the people by so-called service providers such Our Telekom, banks and others are curtailed.