Local company illegally selling bandwidth – GT&T
The country’s landline telephone company has expressed fears of its confidential
information being leaked to competition.
Speaking to reporters during a press conference at the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) head office on Brickdam, Chief Executive Officer, Yog Mahadeo, also said that he has received reports of at least one unlicenced company illegally selling bandwidth.
The executive was at the time being questioned about the recent sale of government’s 20% shares in that company.
The company, which has the monopoly of overseas calls and landlines based on an agreement it had signed with the PNC administration in the early ‘90s has been in the news lately, as government announced approval of a US$30M sale of the GT&T shares to a Hong Kong-based Chinese company, Datang Telecom Technology and Industry Group.
According to Mahadeo, his company has been complying and submitting its reports along with the necessary directors’ comments to its shareholders…the government and Atlantic Tele Network (ATN).
“In terms of the way I see it, government has been a 20% shareholder and government represents the people of Guyana. And so I daresay, they will determine who has access to them. I would continue to remain concerned if competitive information would have been shared. I have also said publicly that I was unhappy that information we shared on our own expansion plans were taken and probably adopted.”
The official would have been referring to previous claims that government had adopted plans announced by GT&T to provide internet access for all parts of Guyana. Government is working on projects to lay a fibre optic cable from Brazil and another from Charity, Essequibo to Moleson Creek, Berbice.
GT&T has said that its expansion plan was stymied by non-permission from government on a number of its expansion plans.
Government has been moving to open up the telecoms market, but legislation to liberalise the sector was pulled from Parliament at the last minute last year. Several companies are waiting to enter the Guyana market to compete, government has said.
According to Mahadeo, GT&T has learnt that one company is selling bandwidth, although no new licences have been issued to do so.
A number of call centres have reportedly been called by that company, inviting them to buy bandwidth, an activity that would be highly irregular, Mahadeo said.
Meanwhile, on the issue of the sale of the 20% shares, the CEO said that he is concerned that GT&T was not consulted after the decision was made to sell.
As a matter of fact, GT&T had offered government to help with the disposal of the shares. The telephone company had declined to buy the shares. Government did not take up the offer of GT&T’s help.
Following the decision by government to sell to Datang, GT&T had said it was not consulted.
Government later insisted that the company’s books were perused by Datang before they decided to buy. Last week, Cabinet Secretary, Dr. Roger Luncheon retracted this, saying that what he really meant was that the public records of GT&T were examined by that Chinese company.
“Personally, I remain concerned that any major investor would want to invest in a company and would not want to have discourse… a discussion… or anything with management. I cannot sit on the minds of potential shareholders or the current shareholders to say that this is what they would want or how they would approach it. I have said my piece on the matter already and do not want to go back there,” the GT&T official said.