Given ongoing court battles, Government is pushing Digicel and the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) to work out an interim inter-connectivity agreement.
Earlier this month, the Telecommunications Authority Suriname (TAS) shut down the alleged illegal microwave link, which Digicel used to feed data capacity to its unit in Guyana. It caused significant data outages for Digicel’s customers here.
GTT has long complained that Digicel should be forced to buy its data capacity from them instead of feeding it over the border.
Minister of Public Telecommunications, Catherine Hughes said that she has met with both companies in an effort to find a temporary solution.
“The allegation is that some of the traffic in that [Suriname] link comes to Guyana as opposed to the traffic going through GTT. I have met with GTT and Digicel and have been in constant conversations with them, saying to them work out an agreement so that Digicel can go through GTT,” Hughes stated.
GTT has previously alleged that Digicel has deprived Guyana of $30 million in lost charges by bypassing its network. It claims the link is illegal. Digicel has denied those claims. GTT confirmed that it complained about Digicel’s cross-border link to the Guyana government, which presumably passed those concerns on to its counterparts in Suriname.
“There are cases in the court, because Digicel feels that GTT license does not prevent them from providing data services. That is a dispute that only the courts can decide on, but I have said to them in the interim; guys work out an agreement when the court decide then if there is compensation that is required; if they are fees and monies due then the courts will decide on that,” Hughes noted.
As Guyana gears towards a year-end conclusion of the telecoms monopoly held by GTT, there is a major battle brewing in the High Court.
Digicel Guyana and GTT are challenging each other. On one hand, U Mobile (Cellular) Inc., which has a licence now being operated by Digicel, is asking the court to rule that the telecoms licence granted in the 1990s to GTT is illegal, as it breached several rights.
GTT, on the other hand, says that Digicel illegally attempted to stop routing its international calls through GTT’s network.
The matter challenging the licence had been dragging on since 2009.
Hughes pointed out that she continues to invest a lot of time into ensuring that the monopoly ends by December 31, as promised.
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