Informed consumers play a crucial role in the functioning of markets. For this role to be realized they must have access to the right information to make informed choices about products and services. Consumers are, however, oftentimes constrained in their ability to make decisions about products and services from a fully informed position given information asymmetry in the markets. Where information transparency issues exist, consumers are not equipped to make the best choices.
Regulators and service providers both have roles to play in ensuring that consumers are empowered to make the best decisions to maximize their welfare. For service providers, full disclosure of information that is easily accessible, accurate and timely are positive reinforcements for an empowered consumer. In the case of the regulator, information asymmetry in the market can be addressed using formal or informal means, or a combination of both. Formal measures would include regulatory mandates, while the informal approach would be to secure voluntary undertakings by the service providers to provide information and tools to consumers that will help them to manage usage and expenditure.
This document discusses the transparency issues in regard to telecommunication services and the impact of information asymmetry on consumers, such as unexpectedly high billing/bill shock or rapid credit depletion. Experiences of consumers and regulators in different jurisdictions in dealing with these issues form a part of the discussion along with Jamaica’s experience as documented by the Office of Utilities Regulation through its complaints department and the results of its billing transparency survey. Remedies are proposed to address some of the billing issues resulting from inadequate information provision for which comments are invited from stakeholders.
- Public Notice – Improving Info Transparency in Telecoms_2019 June 9
- Media Release – OUR Invites Comments on information transparency in Telecoms Sector – 2019 June 13
- CACU Response_to Improving Info Transparency in Telecom Markets 2019 July
- Flow’s Response – Improving Information Transparency 2019 July 5
- Consultation Response – Transparency in Telco Market – Digicel 2019 July 5
- Improving Information Transparency in Telecommunication Markets – Determination Notice 2020 June 18
- Media Release – OUR Makes Decision on Information Transparency for Telecoms Customers 2020 June 26