Digicel repeats call for end to telecoms monopoly
Mobile giant Digicel yesterday repeated calls for the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector.
The call came after the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) asked Digicel to come clean on its financial position to show how it has been hurt by GT&T’s hold on the internal market.
In a swipe at GT&T, Digicel called on its competitor to clarify its position on the ending of the monopoly.
“Digicel welcomes GT&T’s CEO Yog Mahadeo’s recent comment on their support for liberalisation; however, Digicel believes that the time has come for GT&T to clarify and publicly state its objections to the legislation to achieve the same so that the issue can be resolved once and for all and stop engaging in PR niceties,” said Digicel Guyana CEO, Gregory Dean.
Digicel charged that “the dramatic 11th hour reversal of the planned telecommunications reform was attributed to the ‘possibility of litigation and acrimony’ which arose following communications between the Government and US-based ATN/GT&T.
Now more than two months later, Dean said, neither GT&T nor its parent company ATN has stated what their concerns were with the bill.
With the country set to welcome a new parliament, Digicel is once more pressing for the legislation to come in place.
“The reality is that liberalisation would probably force GT&T to get away from its monopoly/subsidy mindset and manage itself as a proper competitive company,” Dean stated.
He said that businesses should thrive on merit and through competing vigorously, “not by sitting on a guaranteed monopoly for two decades that grants it significant advantages over other operators.”
“GT&T needs to join the rest of the business world in the 21st century. ATN’s US businesses would not have been able to make the gains they have made in the USA if they did not operate in a fair competitive environment, so why should Guyana have to treat their Guyanese subsidiary GT&T any different?” Dean stated.
The debate over liberalisation of the telecommunication industry has revved up once again with the two giants’, Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) and Digicel (Guyana) trading blows.
Mahadeo had challenged Digicel’s claim that GT&T’s US-based parent company, Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN), pressured the Guyana government to delay the passage of two key Parliamentary bills that would have allowed other similar companies to enter the market.
Mahadeo Tuesday insisted that his company does not enjoy a monopoly in international calls, especially by the large number of illegal bypasses of illegitimate calls utilizing the internet traffic.