WILLEMSTAD — UTS-director Paul de Geus cannot understand the commotion on the introduction of a fixed monthly subscription fee of 25 guilders for the prepaid internal telephone Telefásil. De Geus points out that a prepaid service for permanent telephony without having to pay for a subscription does not exist anywhere in the world.
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Telefásil-users currently do not pay a subscription fee at all. UTS want to introduce a subscription system per December 1st. This follows naturally from the increase of the subscription for post-paid customers, which went up from 18 to 25 guilders. The implementation of fixed subscription costs for Telefásil has caused indignation with the local politics as well as the consumers’ association FpK.
In a reaction, De Geus states that the company has decided to neutralize the former Telefásil-service provision as such. "Until now, it was possible to have a prepaid telephone without having to pay a subscription fee. We have now decided to neutralize the difference between prepaid and post-paid customers. This implies that both groups will pay the same subscription fee, while the rates for prepaid customers will be reduced to the level of the rate for postpaid customers. In this, there will no longer be a difference between these two groups of customers." The additional advantage that prepaid customers have is that they can control their costs by using the telephone cards, De Geus adds.
De Geus cannot understand the criticism on the increase. "Why does one now denounce the payment of a 25 guilder subscription fee after such a long period? Why would one not appreciate the long period of not having had to pay a subscription fee? Post-paid users were also not happy that other users did not have to pay a subscription fee." De Geus points out that a subscription fee was necessary to cover the costs of these telephone lines. "As a company we have to charge this amount because the telephone line still has to be managed, paid and maintained even though you do not use the telephone. If the telephone is not working – even though you have not used it that month – someone still has to pay for the repair, or not? Therefore, we have decided to charge the same amount for all subscribers, prepaid or post-paid."
The UTS-director said he was prepared to speak with the consumers’ association FpK. "It is possible that they had not understood us correctly, but I still find their reaction strange. I am of the opinion that they should verify whether our increase is against the law or not. The increase is not illegal and has been approved by the authorities."
DP criticizes mismanagement UTS
DP-leader Norbert George is of the opinion that the customer should not foot the bill for the mismanagement within UTS. This was his reaction to the announced increase of the subscription fees for post-paid as well as prepaid customers of the company. George more likely wonders if the resignation of the entire management is not called for here.
According to the DP-leader, the announced rate increase leads to a whole lot of questions. In this, he wonders why nobody at UTS is held responsible for the loss running into millions with the ‘adventures’ of the telecom company in the Dominican Republic, St. Kitts, Surinam and the Netherlands. George also refers to the announced rate decrease for internet which still has not been implemented, the forthcoming of an efficient management, an improved labor and capital dedication, or accepting a lower profit margin by the company’s management. According to the DP-leader, these are all matters, which are not being dealt with by the UTS-management.
The DP council-member wonders whether UTS needs this to lower the concession payments in order to make the network more profitable in this manner. "The consumer is simply being robbed. UTS, Aqualectra, Curoil… all of them are government nv’s which contribute more towards the increase of poverty than the growth of our economy. The boards of commissioners simply stand there and look on, and if possible, they will get their share through a public limited company. That most of these commissioners have been appointed by the coalition parties is significant, because then at least you know from which direction the solution will not be coming from."
According to George, it would prove to be more helpful to the consumers if a once only loss were incurred by dismissing the incompetent management and replacing such with competent managers even if they had to be recruited from abroad.
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