…says focus should be on customers, competition in response to GTT’s claims of illegality
As the proverbial war between the two telecommunications giants (GTT and Digicel) escalates, Digicel on Thursday responded in kind to the assertions made on Wednesday by GTT that the multinational company was operating illegally by sourcing a bypass link for international calls from Suriname.
Apart from categorically rebuking as untrue the assertions made by GTT, that Digicel’s trans-border link between Guyana and Suriname was unlawful and costing the treasury over $30M US in lost taxes over a five year period, Digicel also articulated what its achievements were since it was established in Guyana.
According to the company “when Digicel began providing services in Guyana in 2007, consumers saw up to 50% decrease in domestic call rates and access to new affordable handsets with no activation fees.”
Moreover, Digicel noted that their services stretch to the remote regions of Guyana but said that “27 years after GT&T’s launch in Guyana, there are still areas even in Georgetown where customers are still waiting for service from GT&T.”
Digicel says it believes the focus should be on customers and competition and issued a call to GTT to “desist from making false allegations that serve to mislead and remove the focus from the imminent opening of a fully competitive telecoms sector in Guyana and to allow the Government to continue to work towards making liberalisation a reality for the benefit of the public of Guyana.”
According to Digicel, if GTT believes it offers a superior level of services to consumers in Guyana, then there should be no need to fear liberalisation.
“It’s ironic that GT&T is trying to portray itself as a consumer champion whilst doing everything in its power to frustrate our attempts to provide competition and choice in the market” said the company.
GTT in its statement on Wednesday had reiterated its call for Digicel’s “illegal bypass” operation to be audited by an independent and trusted organization and went one step further, indirectly calling on government to act in enforcing the law.
According to GTT “telecoms liberalization could be very positive for Guyana, but only if our laws are enforced and the public has transparency… however only the government has the authority ensure that the rule of law is enforced.”
Public Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughes in March had said that the matter was engaging Government’s attention, while noting also that her intention is to arrive at a resolution that would be in the best interest of the people of Guyana.
According to Hughes, the Ministry believes that a fully liberalised and competitive sector would prevent the resurgence of claims such as those made by GTT.