The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT) has denied any involvement in recent actions by the Surinamese telecoms authority to pull the data sharing service that was being provided to its competitor, Digicel Guyana.
The company’s Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Justin Nedd made this clear at a media briefing at the Herdmanston Lodge, just over a week after Digicel’s data service was interrupted from the Surinamese end. Nedd told the media that GTT has not threatened any legal action to any Surinamese agency private or government.
“On the issue of legal proceedings, I’d like to say that GTT has not commenced any legal proceedings or threatened any legal proceedings in Suriname.” The CEO said that GTT is aware that Surinamese authorities are instead regularizing there telecoms requirements and ensuring that operators observe regulations.
“We recognize that the Surinamese regulators are executing their mandate,”Nedd told the press. He said that GTT is aware that Surinamese regulators have been working with operators to ensure that their operations are above board and this would have been the reason for disconnection between the two sides.
It had been reported that Digicel Guyana was receiving data sharing service from Suriname, bypassing GTT which is the only authorized provider allowed to access a subsea cable to facilitate the relevant telecoms services. GTT had also indicated this Surinamese approach by Digicel was unethical and had expressed concerns publicly and to the government of Guyana.
GTT is nonetheless the main provider in the country and holds the monopoly within the telecoms industry. The government is currently in talks with GTT for the liberalization of the sector. However, complications regarding taxes have stagnated discussions and the industry’s liberalization almost two years later.
Nedd had lamented the uneven competition that currently obtains among communication providers in Guyana and reminded of the tax structure that he says is not applied across the board. “What we want is if we are paying one tax rate then all the players in the sector should pay the same…”
The CEO stated however that there should be significant progress regarding the liberalization of the sector before year end. He said he is “optimistic” about advances in the process as the company welcomes competition which according to him is good for business.
The GTT CEO said that the company has massive capacity to provide service locally. He was confident that should the company take on some 300,000 more subscribers at any time, they would be able to add them to their service without degrading the current quality of service. He pointed out that earlier this year, the company successfully provided Guyana Suriname and French Guyana with telecoms service after the two countries had experienced unforeseen system failure.
Nedd said that as a result of Digicel bypassing GTT’s agreement to provide them with the relevant data service to operate, the company has lost tens of millions of US dollars.