GT&T announces extensive Wi-Fi for UG, Nat’l Stadium
– Diverse mobile money transfers imminent
As talks continue between government and the two major telecommunication companies on new legislation to effectively open the market, one of them has announced major plans to introduce several products and services this year.
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has announced that it is rolling out a pilot project on the West Bank Demerara to replace the outdated, fixed wireless telephone systems with technology to allow landlines and high-speed data at the same time.
Soon, too, GT&T will be launching extensive Wi-Fi connectivity services at the University of Guyana and at the neighbouring Cyril Potter College of Education (CPCE). Similar services will be available for students at the Tain, Berbice campus and at the Guyana National Stadium, Providence.
These disclosures were made by GT&T’s acting Chief Financial Officer (CFO), Sonita Jagan, yesterday.
At the campuses, it would cost students as little as $100 per hour to access high speed internet.
This will come despite a holdup in the granting of additional spectrum, which had stopped GT&T from introducing several other new services, including the full use of some smartphones and tablets.
Along with Jagan at the breakfast press conference at Cara Suites on Middle Street, were Chief Executive Officer (ag), Joe Singh, and other senior officials.
Both Jagan and Singh, who once led GT&T for several years before being replaced, were recalled by the US-owned parent company of GT&T, following a scandal last year that saw the sacking of a number of staffers, following the discovery of irregularities in payments.
Earlier this week, GT&T announced that former head of the Guyana Bank For Trade and Industry (GBTI), Radha Krishna Sharma, has been appointed the new CEO, while Justin Nedd will be the CFO.
Regarding the pilot project in West Bank Demerara, Jagan explained that work is underway at La Grange, La Retraite, Nismes, and Bagotsville Public Road, to place the necessary infrastructure that will allow residents to access landlines and internet access via one box.
Stressing that it is a pilot project, the executive said that the US$1.5M initiative could also be taken to Tuschen, Leguan, Wakenaam and the Essequibo Coast after the first quarter period. It could eventually cost up to $1B.
The acting CFO disclosed that the company, because of the delays by the authorities to grant more spectrum, had started to look at alternative measures of introducing services.
GT&T is now working to install equipment for its long-term evolution (LTE) technology, marketed as 4G LTE, that will allow high-speed data for mobile phones and data terminals.
In critical business areas like Stabroek Market in the city and New Amsterdam in Berbice, moves are also underway to possibly introduce Wi-Fi areas.
With data of poor quality, to especially mobiles, and with many persons now owning Ipads and other tablets, the LTE technology will be more than a welcome addition.
Meanwhile, Jagan was excited about the company’s ‘Mobile Money’ launch in a few weeks. This new service, totally secured and in partnership with GBTI, will allow customers of GT&T to pay utility bills, transfer monies to another phone and even receive cash.
Jagan was insistent that this service is totally secured and even if a cellular phone is lost, it is virtually impossible to steal the money as it protected by PINs and other measures.
Already, the phone company has managed to secure agreements with Guyana Water Inc., the Institute of Private Enterprise Development (IPED) and Guyana Power and Light Inc., to allow for the payments of bills.
The Mobile Money service, she said, will also allow shopping and even transfers of money from remote hinterland locations where banks and other financial institutions are not readily available.
Updating the media on the Emagine DSL service, she also said that work has been completed on infrastructure from the Mahaica, East Coast Demerara to Skeldon, East Berbice corridor. Residents with landlines can now apply for the Emagine service which was rolled out when the company introduced its new fibre optic cable a few years ago. Emagine suffered several setbacks with the service ending at Mahaica.
With respect to services in the hinterland, cell sites are being built at Annai and Kurupukari and five others areas are being targeted for the year, Jagan said.
The company also has major plans for Mashramani, to sponsor a children costume parade; Jingle and Song Competition; celebration of the Indian and Chinese arrival anniversaries; Spelling Bee and a host of other events.