Suriname shuts down Digicel’s microwave data link with Guyana, causing mobile data service blackout

Last Updated on Friday, 5 October 2018, 10:07 by Denis Chabrol

The Suriname government has shut down what it deems to have been an illegal microwave link that supplied data from Digicel (Suriname) to Digicel (Guyana), causing  a massive interruption of data services on Digicel’s Guyana network over the last few days.

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company had threatened legal action against Surinamese authorities, forcing them to move in and shut down the facility. Senior officials of the two phone companies did not immediately comment on the issue.

Government officials in the telecommunications sector said Guyana had nothing to do with the disconnection. “The Surinamese regulator is shutting down the link. We have nothing to do with it. The bypass is through Suriname,” an official told Demerara Waves Online News briefly ahead of a statement expected later Friday.

Another official said Digicel (Guyana) would now have to re-engage the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company in purchasing data for resale to subscribers or switch on its own satellite data down-link system.

Over the last three days, Digicel customers in Guyana had suffered several hours of data outages. In text messages to subscribers, no reason was given for the data disruption.  Digicel’s top-up and phone card credit systems

Back in April, 2017, Digicel had denied claims by GTT of an illegal low quality bypass system through  Suriname that had robbed Guyana’s coffers of at least US$30 million. GT&T said had said it had paid more than US$50 million in taxes to the Guyana Revenue Authority (GRA) over the past 15 years.