The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) yesterday launched
its Blackberry service and introduced four smart phones, with a boast that even if it was not the first, it would be the best.
The company added excitement to its launch, complete with a flash mob around Georgetown, by announcing the imminent introduction service for Iphones, and a further reduction in the cost of international calls from December.
Persons would be able to call the United States for less than $20 per minute from their landline phones, while calls to other international destinations would also be significantly reduced. The new rates have come with the approval of the regulatory body, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC).
GT&T has been investing US$20 million in the telecommunications sector each year for the last 20 years, Chief Executive Yog Mahadeo said that he was seeing no reason why that would not continue.
The launch of GT&T’s Blackberry service comes years after the product was introduced by the company’s mobile rival Digicel, and Mahadeo, while admitting the delay threw jabs at “the red guys.”
He said that the Blackberry devices would not be “locked,” affording customers choice. A SIM card from the competitor can be used in an instrument acquired from GT&T. This is not the same with instruments purchased from Digicel.
The plans offered by GT&T include Chat, Social, Connect, and Professional, with customers being able to choose a pre-paid plan for a daily rate of as low as $199.
The introduction of the Blackberry service allowed GT&T to “break the monopoly” on the same service offered by Digicel for the past four years.
GT&T has been picked on for controlling the telecommunications sector. Digicel recently accused the company of intimidating the government into stalling the passage of laws that would open up the sector. GT&T has denied that charge.
In an apparent plug as the incumbent People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) campaigns for re-election this November 28, Finance Minister Dr Ashni Singh said that in the new Parliament, legislation would be introduced for a fully competitive environment.
President Bharrat Jagdeo, who is on his way out of office, pushed the same line, saying the government would ensure the sector is liberalized.
He said that a liberalized telecommunications sector would best serve the interest of Guyana.
Mahadeo said that GT&T could have done much more, such as launching 4G (the fourth generation of cellular wireless standards) in every home, if certain things were in place.
He bragged that GT&T has blazed the trail of telecommunications in Guyana. The company has a staff of 700.
He said the company is not all about making profits, but about ensuring that the dreams of Guyanese become a reality.
Mahadeo said that the company now has 150,000 landline subscribers and 300,000 mobile subscribers.
Regarding the Blackberry service, he said that GT&T is offering a service that makes a difference. Persons can choose either a Basic, Standard, Gold or Platinum package.
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