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The King is dead, long live the King

In the presence of the press, New Millennium Telecom Services was pronounced a thing of the past with Digicel replacing it as Aruba’s upcoming telecom service provider. NMTS, a company established by two young ambitious lawyers, set out to fight the monopoly of Setar, Aruba’s sole telecom service provider. Back and forth they went in court winning a significant victory, allowing them to compete with the government and finally offer an alternative to consumers. In reality, Setar, the island’s phone company didn’t deserve our ever-lasting loyalty. With bad, expensive service as its trademark, Setar had no friends in the community and we were quite happy at the prospect of new and improved options. However, in fact NMTS facilitated the introduction of a fresh kind of new millennium colonialism.

Gomez and BikkerThe two lawyers who know very little about tele-communications shopped around for international buyers. I’m sure they found many, ready and willing, to pay a substantial sum of money to take the tele-communications concession off the island-boys’ hands. The two legal eagles finally hooked up with an Irish company - all executives share a nice mellow accent and exhibit sunshiny dispositions. Digicel they emphatically explained takes over from NMTS. And judging from their 2-cent new logo presentation, we are dealing here with a cost-conscious operator, a no-frill outfit. Anyway, the Irish digital colonialist are already operating in quite some Caribbean islands offering indeed more reasonable rates, yet making their shareholders on the Emerald Isle, rich. This island’s government used Setar as its private piggy bank, cracking it open as needs emerged, dipping into Setar’s coffers to bail out the National Health System, and extinguishing all financial fires with Setar’s resources.

DigiCel RepThe government will be scientifically poorer when Digicel flicks on its switches, yet hopefully my phone bills will be in decline. P.S. Before the switch is flicked the final infrastructure rental fees need to be negotiated with Setar. In order to operate, Digicel must sign an agreement, iron out all kinks, defining the relationship between the two entities – the new boys on the block and the motherland. While Digicel says it’s just a few days away, it seems to me it will take some time. Setar will want to overcharge. Digicel will want to pay next to nothing. The courts will have to intervene. Stay tuned.

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