Банкеръ Weekly

Briefs

BTC TO PAY FOR DELAYED LAUNCH OF NEW TELEPHONES

The end is near of the long waiting for the launching of a new telephone. As the new general conditions of the Bulgarian Telecommunication Company (BTC) were published early this week, customers will no longer spend months waiting for a technician, if they have paid their installation fees. It is written in the document that the company has ten days to connect a subscriber to the network. Should it not be done within the established term, for each day of its delay BTC will have to pay a forfeit amounting to 1% of the sum paid by the customer initially.Moreover, if the telephone stops working for more than two days and it is the company to be blamed for that, it will compensate its customers with 30% of their monthly subscription. If the damage is not eliminated within 11 to 20 days, the customer should be paid back the entire subscription amount. Subscribers who have had their lines lost for more than 20 days will profit most. In this case, they will not be asked to pay their subscription fee for two months.Our new general conditions give Bulgarian consumers the same rights that subscribers in the European Union use, BTC CEO Dennis Wallach said. Loopholes that the company has provided should not be ignored, either. For example, if a customer is late with paying his bill more than twice in six months, he will automatically be classified as a risk subscriber. And that allows the telecom to require an obligatory collateral, either a guarantee deposit or a bank guarantee. Its amount is to be determined by the average monthly consumption of the subscriber for the past six months. BTC will be able to use it to cover unpaid bills, including the interests due.According to the new general conditions, bills will be paid between the 14th and 29th day of the following month (the 25th day used to be the deadline until now). From the 30th day of the next month until the 5th one of the month after the next month, the subscriber will be able to pay his bill including an interest. In that period the company is obliged to remind him to pay his bill. The signal will be interrupted on the sixth day of the respective month. The telecom subscribers will be able to check their monthly bills by phone, on the company's website or in the BTC centres throughout the country. Detailed bills will be provided to consumers who use digital phones. Customers who have not signed a contract with the company or those who have lost the document will be allowed to sign a new one by the end of the year. The rest of the contracts will be automatically equalized with the new general conditions.While BTC presented the new rules, the Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) made it a not so pleasant surprise. The antimonopolistic structure imposed two BGN50,000 fines on the telecom because of an abuse of its monopolistic position. The concrete reason is the company's refusal to provide access to ADSL infrastructure (that allows high-speed access to the global network) to the other INTERNET-suppliers.According to the CPC, that refusal deprives the other suppliers of the chance to be real competitors of the telecom on the market. By being the only supplier, BTC guarantees itself a dominating position on the market of ADSL access to the INTERNET. The company cannot provide any irrefutable arguments for the existence of either technical or technological obstacles for providing that kind of access, antimonopolistic regulators comment. BTC should remove the violation within three months, the CPC added.

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