The government will be paying Go €359,967 to cover the costs it incurred in 2010 in connection with the provision of various universal service obligations (USO), after the Malta Communications Authority agreed that it “suffered an unfair burden to provide a universal service”.

Go submitted its claim to the Malta Communications Authority in 2012, which commissioned EY to verify its workings.Its claim was calculated on the basis of two different models based on line rental costs, which worked out at €1.69 million and €875,000.

The claim only covers 2010. Go has submitted claims for the USO for other years but the government made it clear that the decision – to pay this amount from public funds – was without prejudice to the position it could take on any future USO-related claims.

The largest component of the claim covered social tariffs and amounted to €372,877, covering mostly Telecare, and free line rental to low-income earners or to people with special social needs.

The MCA also took into account that Go garnered €201,426 worth of intangible benefits from these services, leaving a net amount of €359,967.

The amount being granted to Go was considerably less than Go wanted for most of the categories.

Only Go’s claim for €79,646 with regard to the directory enquiry service was accepted in full. Go told the Sunday Times of Malta that the amount was the actual loss it made on the provision of the service, which “includes substantial salary and infrastructure expenditure”.

Go had hoped for a larger amount for provision of services to areas that are not economically feasible such as isolated locations. Its claim for this was €1.13 million in one of its models, and €21,724 in the second, but the MCA only approved the payment of €14,010.

Its claim for providing 939 payphones was €281,157 but it was granted €94,860.

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