I can't see how the continuation of a state monopoly in telecommunications - even a benign, popular, pro-customer orientated service, which we don't have - could ever be justified now given the advances in technology coupled with the simultaneous clampdown in freedom of expression that we have seen in the past decade. Inevitably, people will just try to find alternative new technologies to enable them to avoid having to use the government monopoly (example from the past decade: using public wifi signals or mobile internet provided by Sure or Airtel in order to nullify the need to pay for an overpriced JT monopoly landline connection).
In the extreme east of the island, it is possible to accidentally hook on to a French mobile network. Because of this thing called excessive roaming charges, nobody would currently choose to do so, but if roaming charges eventually ceased to exist and if there was ever a situation in the future where Jersey's internet became so over-policed and over-surveilled in comparison to our near neighbours that islanders didn't feel safe to express themselves freely online, then might we see local dissidents quietly heading up to the cliffs above Rozel every night with their smartphones at the ready...?
There is a consistent trend towards the ever-greater filtering, censorship and surveillance of all electronic communications. That is controversial enough when governments are trying to force reluctant private internet service providers to do these things on behalf of the state, but could you imagine if our only way of communicating electronically to the outside world in 2016 was via the States of Jersey owned Jersey Telecoms? OK, they are probably going to filter, censor and monitor our internet come what may but I would still rather have a choice of providers nonetheless because that will at least help to keep the tariffs more reasonable.
Re Shortport's enquiry: I can't give a comprehensive answer as there are pros and cons with all 3 networks, but it is worth pointing out that Airtel
still charges its PAYG customers just 7p per minute
to phone all
local mobile numbers, which does not include any additional offers of free data and free calls to other Airtel numbers when you top up with at least £10. See link 1 below:Link 1
By comparison, both Sure
(link 2) and JT
(link 3) currently charge 25p per minute
to phone all local mobiles at the standard tariff (i.e. when your brief period of free calls after topping up has expired).Link 2
I think that 25p per minute (excluding GST) to phone another Jersey mobile number when Sure only charges its PAYG customers 10p
per minute to phone Polish
mobiles is totally unjustified. Why hasn't the regulator acted before now? Even if they could somehow prove that 25p per minute is justified and reasonable for Jersey people located within the island to phone other Jersey people who are also located within the island then that raises the obvious follow-on question of why these customers appear to be subsidizing Polish and Portuguese nationals in the island to phone home at an ultra-low tariff that must surely be below the wholesale cost to the network? It cannot be cheaper for Sure in Jersey to connect its customers to any Polish or Portuguese mobile network than it is to connect to its own
network! It is also unfair on other ethnic groups who have settled in Jersey (e.g. Romanians) but not in quite as large numbers as the Polish or Portuguese (I suppose Sure's response will eventually be to lower calls to Romania too, which hardly deals with the discrimination issue).
I should also just add that Airtel also provides very cheap tariffs to Portugal and Poland (as well as other countries like Romania, Hungary, Latvia, Bangladesh and Ireland) but the discrimination issue is far less of a problem because the price is the same (7p per minute) whether you phone a Jersey, Polish or Portuguese mobile (including Romania, Hungary etc.) and it is only 2p per minute cheaper to phone a Polish or Portuguese landline (including Romania, Hungary etc.) than it is to phone a Jersey one. Therefore Jersey residents using Airtel are not paying more than double the price of Polish and Portuguese nationals, as is the case on the Sure network.
Would anyone care to hypothesize whether positive discrimination in favour of certain select ethnic groups in respect of mobile phone tariffs might possibly be unlawful? These mobile companies are not public authorities so they are not directly bound by the European Convention on Human Rights, but the domestic legislation that they must comply with should
be compliant with the Convention, as should the actions (or non-actions) of the local Regulator, I presume.