Opposition Leader Julian Fraser has said persons need to thank him for his role in expanding mobile phone usage in the BVI.
Fraser’s comments came as he debated the Business Licensing Act that passed in the House of Assembly (HOA) recently.
The Third District Representative said that in 2007 only 50 percent of persons in the BVI had cell phones.
“Fifty percent of that 50 percent kept their cell phones in their bags because they couldn’t let their friends know they had a cell phone. Because if they had known they had a cell phone, they’d all be asking them to make a phone call and you can’t afford to let somebody use your phone to make a phone call,” Fraser said.
Fraser also said that a majority of persons kept their cell phones off around that time because persons were required to pay for phone calls they received as well as phone calls that were made.
“The same 2007, 200 percent of Virgin Islanders had phones, 200 percent. That means each Virgin Islander had two phones. I just want him to know, the Member for the Fifth (Fifth District Representative Kye Rymer) that they must thank me for that,” Fraser said.
He continued: “First, you don’t have to pay when somebody calls you and second, rates are down.”
Fraser has not been shy over the years in taking credit for his role in ‘liberalising’ the telecommunications sector and introducing a third mobile phone carrier while serving as Minister for Communications and Works at the time.
According to Fraser, rates were currently on the increase again and this was an issue that he needed to take up with the Telecommunications Regulatory Commission (TRC) which is responsible for the sector.
Fraser also called on the TRC to ensure that telephone companies are not benefitting from areas in the legislation that they should not be.
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