Mar 02, 2016 News
A telecoms company is suing the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company Limited (GTT) and the regulatory body, Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for US$281M, claiming that it was deliberately suppressed
from expanding its cell services.
The company, Caribbean Telecommunications Limited (CTL), filed the lawsuit in late December against the US-owned GTT and the regulator in the Commercial Court. The matter has seen previous court action in both Guyana and the US. Representing CTL is the law firm, Poonai and Poonai.
According to the court documents, the plaintiff, CTL, in 1996 was granted a 10-year renewable licence to provide cellular radio telephone services, to residents of Guyana, by the Ministry of Public Works and Telecommunication.
At the same time, CTL petitioned PUC for the right to provide cell services. During the time, GTT exercised monopolistic control over entire Guyanese telephone market, both hard wire and cellular.
PUC approved the rates for CTL by an order in 1997, directing GTT to interconnect the CTL network for cell service.
Both CTL, owned by Guyana-born Lloyd Soobrian, and GTT entered an agreement for shared fees and interconnection of lines and equipment.
CTL, in its Statement of Claims, said it invested millions of dollars in hardware and technology for its planned cell service expansion throughout Guyana. While GTT started to cooperate, it restricted the scope of the cell phone company to a “small” and “arbitrary geographically” area.
CTL claimed also that relations between the two companies soured when without justification, GTT ceased its “paltry” cooperation altogether by reducing the plaintiff’s outbound call capacity from 48 lines to three. It physically prevented CTL from interconnecting beyond the limited geographical area.
GTT’s actions breached a standing agreement and also disobeyed the orders of PUC, the regulatory body. It affected CTL from expanding.
According to the court documents CTL filed High Court actions, but GTT appealed. The Court of Appeal ruled that CTL’s High Court action was wrong in its procedures.
CTL insisted in the lawsuit that its licence was never terminated and there is no reason it should not be allowed to carry on its business of providing cell services and why GTT should not heed the agreement.
CTL claimed it lost potential revenues because of GTT’s action in Georgetown, New Amsterdam, Skeldon and Upper Corentyne.
CTL said it wants US$281M ($56.2B) for lost revenues and damages for the period 2000-2013.
The telecoms company also wants a declaration that both GTT and PUC unlawfully interfered and should therefore be condemned for damages and costs.
CTL wants a declaration that the suspension of its licence was arbitrary, null and void.
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