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IN SHORT

ST price plan still under scrutiny

SLOVAKIA'S market-regulating Telecom Office (TÚ) has said that it has not yet approved a controversial pricing plan by Slovak Telecom (ST).

The plan put forward in early October said that clients of ST's standard service would be allowed to choose alternative telecom providers when Slovakia's fixed-line monopoly ends in January 2003, as required by law.

However, ST also announced a selection of optional service plans under which clients would not be allowed to switch carriers.

At the October 1 announcement of these plans, geared towards high- and low-use clients, ST said that TÚ had given them the go ahead, a statement that the regulator now denies.

Roman Vavro, spokesman for TÚ, said that ST had given the office an appendix to its general business terms, which TÚ returned to ST for reworking without having been approved.

"TÚ has never approved the appendix to the general business terms of ST, which would enable carrier selection only for users who subscribe to the standard programme," said Vavro in a written statement.

According to currently valid telecom law, from January 2003 ST is obliged to ensure that users can select an alternate telecom company providing the same service.

Moreover, ST must ensure that clients can retain fixed-line telephone numbers if they select another carrier.

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