Thursday, September 3, 2009

(Following post is quoted from Imran Khan's blog
Strike back against phone thieves

A cousin of mine and a friend of hers recently had their mobile phones stolen in Georgetown. It was early evening and they were standing on the street chatting and exchanging phone numbers when a neatly dressed young man walked up and held my cousin’s hand, forcibly removed the phone and then snatched her friend’s phone. He then calmly walked away.

They were left helpless and mildly distraught after what was a slightly traumatic experience. Naturally when one loses a mobile phone, either by theft or otherwise, one tends to be more concerned about the valuable information stored in that phone – particularly the contact details of friends, colleagues and loved ones – than the instrument itself.

In 2005 when I worked with the West Indies team I and several of my then colleagues had our phones stolen in Sri Lanka and we had not known about the need to save our IMEI numbers. Fortunately after a month our phones were returned to us after an intense countrywide search by the Sri Lankan police and army and the offender – an army deserter – suffered a terrible fate.

After the loss of my phone and over the years I received several emails advising that I copy and store my phone’s IMEI number in a safe and secure place in the event I lose the instrument. Ever since I received the first email about this I have been keen on storing the information but thankfully I have not had reason to use it for the purpose intended. I have also forwarded this most useful email tip to others and I am certain that I forwarded to my cousin as well.

Purely by coincidence I came upon her at the very scene of the crime less than five minutes after it occurred. After a quick assessment of the situation it was agreed that there is little sense in going after the thief in the dark of night in a dangerous ghetto area in which he appeared to have entered to make good his brazen escape. We were left with two options. One was to report the matter to the nearest police station. This is Guyana, we agreed that the phones were lost for good and decided not to pursue that course of action.

We could however exact some form of revenge. I immediately asked her for the IMEI number so that we could report it to her network and have them render the phone useless. Unfortunately she did not have the number saved.

You should not make this mistake. It is easy, painless and may come in useful.

To view your phone’s unique IMEI number simply input *#06# on your keypad. The number will automatically show up. Copy it, send it to yourself and select loved ones by email and, as a back-up mechanism, it is also a good idea to write it down in a place where it will be easily accessible. Saving your phone’s IMEI is like a quasi-insurance policy of sorts.

If you suffer the unfortunate experience of losing your phone you should contact your service provider and provide them with the IMEI number. They will be able to use the number to block the handset from being used even if the thief (or new owner) changes SIM cards. The phone will become nothing more than a paperweight.

I have come to realise that many people are aware of the need to save their phone’s IMEI number but, sadly, out of pure negligence they do not save it and some are left bitter and helpless when they lose their prized handsets. If enough people all across Guyana save their IMEIs and phone thieves realise that stealing people’s phones is a worthless petty crime it could lead to a reduction in the incidence of phone snatching which seem to be at an all time high in Georgetown.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Those GT&T shares: To sell or not to buy; that is the question

By Chris Ram; Stabroek News, Sunday, August 09, 2009


The decision by the Government of Guyana to sell its 20% holdings in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Co Limited (GT&T) has caused its fair share of discussion and debate in Guyana. That is not unusual or strange. Ever since the US Virgin Islands-based Atlantic Tele-Network, Inc took over GT&T, it has fascinated, annoyed, excited and generated intense interest among the public. It may have had to do with the process of the sale by the Hoyte administration of the highly profitable, foreign exchange earner under circumstances that still arouse some suspicion. It may have had to do with the revelation that the company was sold with hundreds of millions of Guyana dollars in the bank. It may have had to do with the distrust of multinationals of the late President Cheddi Jagan which seems to have been handed down to his party and some of the Guyanese public. Yet, like it or hate it GT&T has played a significant role in the modernisation of the telecommunication sector in Guyana.

The company boasts of the billions of dollars it has contributed to the national coffers. It is a major employer as well and appears to have had a very good relationship with its workers and their representatives. It has invested hundreds of millions of US dollars in new and modern plant and equipment and its service has reflected continuous improvement which may have been partly driven by the competition from the aggressive and agile newcomer Digicel in the cellular phone market. Of course none of this is due to altruism but to hard decisions about money. The company has also kept our courts busy and its conflicts with the Guyana Revenue Authority are legion.

FITUG and PNCR agree

Now the debate surrounding the company is about the sale of the government’s holdings with the government-backed FITUG and the opposition PNCR arguing against a sale and the government saying it would welcome a debate in the National Assembly. Business Page today considers the offer, which ATN has already refused, and some of the implications for a sale. From a review of my files (in the most innocuous sense of that word), the rights and obligations of the government as minority shareholder were never really clear and that is likely to muddy things a bit.

As a company incorporated under the old Companies Act Cap. 89:01, the company’s shares were under the control of the directors, and like any private company, GT&T was permitted to impose conditions and limitations on the transfer of its shares. Indeed Article 24 of the company’s Articles of Association gave the directors absolute powers to refuse to register the transfer of any shares in the company. Even though the new Companies Act takes a more enlightened view of the right of a shareholder to dispose of his property as he sees fit, sections 334 and 335 of the new act recognise as valid any of the old act’s provisions which may be inconsistent with the new act.

In 2007 I wrote that the government was not as free as it thinks it was to dispose of its 20% holding and that it would have to obtain the agreement of its senior partner if it wished to do so. I still hold that view. Unfortunately, no one appears to have given any attention to that first hurdle.

Ability to pay

The PNCR and FITUG have raised another hurdle and that is the sale of the shares to the employees of the company, which suggests that they are willing and able to pay for the shares, since they must know that the government has abandoned everything else for the maximization of sale price. But the PNCR and FITUG seem to have paid no attention to what a reasonable sale price per share could be. That could be huge. GT&T is in law a private company which means that its shares are not traded on a stock exchange and so the value of the share has to be calculated on what may be considered no better than an educated guess, using a range of factors and making a number of assumptions. Even in the best of circumstances there are at least six factors to be considered, but in the context of Guyana and the company, the number is considerably greater. Yet, one cannot escape the following six:

1. the nature of the business and the history of the enterprise from its inception;

2. the economic outlook in general, and the condition and outlook of the specific industry in particular;

3. the book value of the shares and the financial condition of the business;

4. the earnings capacity of the company;

5. the dividend paying capacity;

6. the market price of shares of corporations involved in the same or similar line of business, having their shares actively traded on the free and open market, either on an exchange or over the counter.

An uncertain future

While the computation of a price may be considered a mathematical exercise, it is based largely on the future, rife with its uncertainties. Consider, for example, the rapid changes in technology in the telecommunications industry, the not unreal possibility that the monopoly enjoyed by GT&T may soon end and the increasing and intense competition which Digicel poses to the company, and the uncertainties certainly mount up. The fact that ATN refused the government’s offer may very well be an indication that even the principal shareholder considers the future of the company far too uncertain for any further investment. In publicly filed documents the company’s parent has drawn attention to the uncertainty about the company’s licence resulting from action both by the government itself and the regulator. It would have been surprising as well if ATN did not consider that its 80% is as good as 100%. It really does not need any more shares in the company, so why not invest its money elsewhere? That is exactly what ATN has been doing and GT&T now accounts for less than half of the group’s revenues. The rest is all outside of Guyana.

So how much is one GT&T share worth? The Earnings per Share in GT&T exceeds $200,000 dollars, and if one values the share at a conservative P/E ratio of 8:1, the value per share is over $1.5 million. And if one uses the book value of the net assets of the company, which is generally considered a minimum price, the value per share is about $1.4 million. These are extremely rough numbers and it is likely that the value of each share on a more sophisticated basis, all things being equal, is an amount well outside the reach of the average worker in the company or the average member of the public.

Why sell a good thing?

Another issue is whether the government should be selling its interest in a company which has a guaranteed rate of return of 15% and which enjoys a monopoly in a still developing sector. There are arguments on both sides. The returns are clearly lucrative and the government does not seem to have any urgent need for funds given the continuous windfalls from VAT. Guyana must be one of the very few countries in the world which is recording increased government revenues in the crisis-prone 2009. High inflows from the Low Carbon Development Strategy are predicted, there are no pressures from its workers and the IDB seems to be as generous as ever, even in the face of increasingly costly and pervasive corruption in the public sector.

Will the government’s proposed regulations for the sector which it has so far not made available to the public have an adverse impact on the company and its share value? Is the proposed share sale more a jump-ship and the real intent of the government is to cash in while the going is good? These questions alone should cause potential buyers to hesitate and leave the government stuck as an unwilling partner to ATN while the value of its holdings depreciates.

On the other hand, the government has been remarkably negligent in managing its investment in GT&T. Under the Government of Guyana-ATN Agreement the government is entitled to board representation consistent with its percentage ownership, meaning that it can nominate two directors. Incredibly, the government has not taken up even one of these positions for the past five years, but yet complains about ATN’s management of the company. It is mind boggling that our NICIL/Privatisation Unit could have been so busy over the past five years that it was unaware of this gross dereliction of its duty to the nation to protect all the country’s investments.

What future for the shares?

It seems highly unlikely that the sale of these shares will take place any time soon. The government has clearly not thought through or prepared itself for what is a major and high value step; the calls by FITUG and the PNCR seem to be based more on emotion and politics than on the consideration of hard facts; and the potential for ATN to raise challenges cannot be underestimated. The government will continue to do nothing while the President spends the next few months looking for money from the ‘rich’ countries leaving the company to manage in the face of increasing uncertainties. If this government cannot mend an arrangement with a partner of close to twenty years, it is hard to see how it will deal with all the environment-friendly international businesses the President hopes to attract.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

SIM ‘banks’ being used to drive illegal incoming overseas calls

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) is cautioning both its cellular service vendors and members of the public to steer clear of what it says is a costly and potentially dangerous racket that employs multiple cellular SIM cards to facilitate rogue telephone ‘services’ that bypass the company’s network.

GT&T believes that there could be as many as 600 illegal services in various parts of the country running ‘bottom house’ services that bypass the company’s legal network, routing overseas calls directly to local telephone numbers. The illegal service has cost the company around US$2M in lost revenue over the past eight months, GT&T’s Chief Financial Officer Yog Mahadeo told Stabroek Business last Friday.

The illegal operators employ banks of SIM cards, each of which represents a telephone number. The SIMS are fed calls by a satellite facility that receives the signals or calls and feeds them to the SIM bank which then routes the calls to local numbers. “In such cases, when you receive an overseas call the number that shows up is a local number. You only become aware that it is an overseas call when you answer it,” Mahadeo told Stabroek Business. He said that a feature of calls that are made through illegal services is poor voice quality resulting from the small, unsophisticated nature of the operations. “The problem here is that the local party is unaware of the illegality of the exercise and blames GT&T for the quality of the call,” Mahadeo said. This newspaper understands that both GT&T and DIGICEL SIM cards are used in the ‘banks.’ However, DIGICEL declin-ed to offer a comment on the matter.

Mahadeo told Stabroek Business that the company has already alerted subscribers to the racket and has asked that in cases where local numbers show up for overseas calls, reports should be made to the com-pany.”People have been making such reports and we have come up with around 400 numbers per week that are making bypass calls,” Mahadeo said.

GT&T Chief Executive Officer Major General (ret’d) Joe Singh told Stabroek Business that the move to alert the public to the bypass racket and to the wider dangers associated with the proliferation of SIMS will be stepped up significantly in the period ahead and will be attended by an incremental effort to “go after” the offenders which will involve both the regulatory bodies and the law enforcement agencies.

The lucrative nature of the rogue service has significantly increased the demand for SIM cards the sale of which is restricted to two services per customer by GT&T. Additionally, subscribers wishing to secure a cellular service are required to present vendors with several forms of identification and to provide specific personal information including proof of address. These sales records are then forwarded to GT&T.

Mahadeo said that by and large, this system has worked well, bypass operators have been pressing other persons into service to purchase SIM cards for them. He said that these buyers move from one vendor to the next, buying two SIM cards during each transaction. “At the end of a day each buyer may well secure up to a dozen cards. Those cards are then sold to the bypass operator.”

While both Mahadeo and Singh told Stabroek Business that the loss of revenue is a worry to the company both say that the far greater worry is the proliferation of SIM cards and implications which Singh says go “far beyond the revenue issue.” Mahadeo says that access to multiple SIMS which allows users to make telephone calls then dispose of the numbers can significantly aid criminal enterprise “and, conceivably, compromise national security.” He said that the company had not ruled out the possibility that some of its own vendors may be involved in an illegal SIM sales racket and that both vendors and some members of the public had been interviewed by the company based on sales records. This newspaper has seen sales records that reflect multiple SIM purchases by individuals. Mahadeo said, however, that GT&T was yet to secure evidence linking multiple SIM purchases to any bypass operation.

Singh said that while GT&T had made the authorities aware of the practice he was less than enthused with the official response given the potential dangers posed by the proliferation of SIM cards. He said that he believed that curbing the SIM racket and “going after” the bypass operations required the collective intervention of all the stakeholders including the National Frequency Management Unit (NFMU) and the two licensed telephone service providers. Mahadeo told Stabroek Business that while SIM rackets were not unique to Guyana the scale of the problem here was significant. He said that in the immediate term the company was concerned with alerting the public to the dangers of securing cellular services for third parties. ‘In cases where the police require information of phone use that may be related to criminal activity we are required under the law to provide that information. In those cases it is the purchaser of the service who may not necessarily be the user of the phone who is implicated,” he added.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Govt’s GT&T shares should be sold to workers – PNCR

The PNCR believes that if it is indeed necessary for the government to sell its 20 percent share in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), employees of the company should be afforded the first option to purchase same.

These sentiments were expressed by the party at its weekly press conference held on Friday at Congress Place.
PNCR member Amna Ally, who read from a prepared statement, said the party would “oppose any attempt to deny the workers of GT&T the right to own those shares.” She said it was the workers of the company who have made it “into an effective and efficient organisation” and contended that “they should be given some preference over the political hangers-on and favoured supporters of the PPP.”

Bypass costs GT&T US$2M in revenue over eight months

Stabroek News July 26, 09
Over the last six to eight months, the Guyana Tele-phone and Telegraph company (GT&T) has lost appropriately US$2 million in revenue through international calls that have bypassed the company’s network, Chief Financial Officer Yog Mahadeo says.

In a recent interview with this newspaper, Mahadeo said this problem has been in existence for some time, but stated that there has been an increase in this activity over the last 18 months. He said this activity has not only robbed GT&T of substantial revenue but also the nation, since whenever GT&T loses revenue the country also suffers since lower taxes are paid.

What is telephone bypass?
According to the Chief Financial Officer “telephone bypass” refers to international calls that are made in and out of Guyana which do not go through the GT&T network. Currently GT&T has the licence for all international telephone traffic. Mahadeo explained that under normal circumstances, someone overseas who is making a call to Guyana would dial 592, which their local phone networks would then transfer to the GT&T switch in Guyana. At this end, Mahadeo explained, the calls are transferred to a GT&T landline or GT&T or Digicel mobile phone.

But he said that while outgoing calls which bypass the GT&T switch are an issue, it is not nearly as big a problem as the incoming calls that bypass the network. This, he explained, is predominantly an issue with calls coming from the USA and Canada.

Mahadeo said bypass occurs because of some degree of selfishness by the giant phone companies in the USA and Canada, who do not care about the revenue lost by GT&T. He said that these large companies may give phone minutes to an illegitimate bottom-house operator in North America. Calls can then be made to Guyana via these illegal operators. According to him, this bottom-house operator instead of sending the call through the GT&T network routes it directly to another illegal bottom-house operator in Guyana. Such an operator, he explained, has a bank of SIM cards which these operators use to send these calls out directly to a telephone numbers. Since these individuals do not have the capacity of the GT&T network they are forced to compress the voice and this results in telephone calls of “horrible quality”. Mahadeo said that when this happens, GT&T is unfairly blamed for the poor quality of these calls which do not pass through its network. He said that another sign that an international call has bypassed the local network is when a telephone user receives an international call which bears a local cell phone number.

Although bypass is common in other territories in the region, Mahadeo said that he was convinced that Guyana was the territory most badly hit by this phenomenon. He made this assessment was based on the significant number of Guyanese who reside in North America, many of whom contact relatives in Guyana frequently.

In an effort to counteract the problem of bypass, Mahadeo said, the ‘Call Home Guyana’ card was launched. This, he said, is a legitimate and cheaper means by which persons overseas can call Guyana. He also said that good quality calls are also assured if these cards are used.

Additionally, Mahadeo said that the company has approached the government for assistance. Further, the local phone company has contacted US and Canada-based telephone companies and according to him, these companies are trying to address the problem as well.

However, the Chief Financial Officer emphasised that the citizens are essential in curbing the problem of bypass. He urged anyone who receives an international call from a local cell phone number, to report it to the phone company. Further, if a caller receives an overseas call of poor quality, this should be reported as well.

Meanwhile, Mahadeo said that so far whenever the company discovers illegal operators it takes appropriate actions against them. However, he said that it was not always easy to find these persons. The Chief Financial Officer emphasised that the company was very serious in addressing the problem even though certain elements of control the issue was out of its hands.
– customers urged to report irregularities

GT&T contributes $43 Billion to national treasury since 2000

July 23, Kaieteur News

The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has invested US$300M in Guyana since the beginning of operations.
At present, the company is worth over $5B with 250,000 mobile subscribers and 130,000 wire-line consumers.
Yesterday, Kaieteur News was told that the annual book earning per share is $195,859 and that the company has 20,625 shares. Of this amount of shares, the government has 4,125.
Since 2000 the government has received more than $4.7B in dividends. Licence fee: $1.75B; Consumption Tax/Vat: $7.2B; Corporation Tax: $29.3B: and Dividends: $4.7B. All told, the telephone company has contributed a whopping $43B (US$215M) to the public treasury.
In justifying the reason for selling government shares, which have earned nothing less than $200M per year with over $800M earned in 2004, President Bharrat Jagdeo said on Monday that his intention to liberalise the telecommunications sector will lead to cheaper costs and enhanced services to customers.
He said that the liberalisation would enable greater international connectivity since studies have shown that more than 25,000 young Guyanese can be employed in the Information Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
In the deal that was struck between Atlantic Tele-Network, an 80 percent stake in the telephone company was sold for the sum of US$16M to Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN) and was guaranteed an investment return of 15 percent.
A six percent advisory fee on gross revenues and a multi-year monopoly on international calls were involved in that deal.
As a consequence the GT&T parent company has received US$80M in advisory fees since the sale.
The US$16M purchase price was recovered in two years of operations.
Meanwhile, this newspaper was told last week that the GT&T parent company has rejected the offer to buy Government’s 20 percent shares in the telephone company.
A source stated that ATN at its recent Board of Directors meeting declined to purchase the shares. Last year government collected $1.5B in taxes from the company and $265M in dividends.
The Opposition is contending that the real motive behind the selling of these shares is intended to ‘benefit the friends and supporters of the PPP’.
During a press conference two Fridays ago the PNCR called for workers of GT&T to be afforded the first option to buy the shares.
According to PNCR Vice Chairman, Basil Williams, the party would insist on this position and oppose any attempt to deny the workers of the company the right to own those shares.

Finance Minister on the sale of GOG's GT&T shares.

In the recent political debate on the sale of its shares in GT&T, the Finance Minister has made a statement that does not fit with his Finance Minister's cap - instead it is a political statement. His statement was carried in the two Government papers (Chronicle and Times).

Finance Minister is questioning the Advisory Fees paid by GT&T to ATN and labels the fees as distribution. This is coming from the finance minister who cannot put this parallel with many other companies in Guyana. Such distributions take place by the GoG using the Lotto Fund and other unaccounted-for accounts as per the Auditor General Report.

Finance Minister is also saying that the taxes and other contributions of GT&T is nothing...since any company ought to pay its taxes. The point is that if the company is forced out as is happening, then there will be NO taxes. There are many instances of poor governance and administration that can come into the argument.

At the end of the day, one cannnot understand how selling these shares has to do with the cost of bandwidth. The Government seems to prepare for riding on the back of GT&T's investment in a new cable - so that bandwidth costs will be lowered anyhow, regardless of the ultimate distribution of the shares. Fact is: the Government only need to invest ONE year's taxes paid by GT&T (17millionn USD per year) into ICT to make it a reality.

GoG agrees to debate GT&T shares

Government agreed to enter into a debate on the GT&T shares. In Kaieteur news Jul 18, Finance Minister (technocrat-turned-politician), said that Gog was willing to 'discuss' the shares.

Let the Debate begin.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

That 20 per cent in GT&T

The following is Kaieteur News editorial of July 16th 2009

The decision by the Guyana Government to sell its 20 per cent share in the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) has caused some stir in the society, particularly at the level of the politicians. The economists are so far silent.
When the government made the announcement, first through the Head of the Privatisation Unit, Winston Brassington, and later through a press release, its main argument was that the company was very profitable at this time and that now was therefore the best time to sell.
But there was another side to the decision. The government said that over the years its representatives have been sitting on the board, they have failed to make the rest of the Board of Directors take their considerations aboard. In short, they felt that they were just there to make up numbers and had no influence whatsoever on the discussions or the deliberations.
One would believe that even if the representatives feel that they can in no way impact on the operations of the telephone company, at least they were being privy to the inside workings of the company; they were aware of the various decisions that would involve the use of funds.
The politicians appear to be more concerned with the money accruing from the company, which, in the words of the head of the Privatization Unit, is very profitable. Ever since 2000, the company has been paying dividends to the government. The company was bought by Atlantic Tele Network in 1991.
At the time of the sale the company was given a ten-year moratorium on dividends while it improved what was in effect an ailing communication system. The government has since announced that from the time dividends have been paid, the returns have been between US$1 million and US$4 million. Last year, the local company paid $256 million in dividends. That is about US$1.28 million.

The telephone company has been saying that the dividends could have been more if the government had clamped down on the illegal communications setup that seem to abound. Whatever the case, the politicians are of the view that given the global economic crisis it was better for the government to keep its shares in the telephone company because it would represent a source of revenue at no risk to the government.
From an economic point of view, that may be wise, but the government feels that if it gets its money in a lump sum then it could undertake much more. The politicians feel that the government has an ulterior motive.

It is now known that the GT&T parent company has no intention of buying those shares. It was known that the government had a certain price that it wanted for its shares. The head of the Privatization Unit had also caused to be stated that the government was not prepared to accept any price. The politicians are now of the view that the government priced the shares at a level that was high enough to deter the parent company from buying them and it is here that the politicians believe that the ulterior motive would be put into effect. Already, there is talk and a lot of it, that the government may be seeking to divert more of state assets to, as the PNCR said, to its cronies.
One question is, “Why should there be a problem with the government divesting itself of assets?” Former President Desmond Hoyte had once said that government should get out of business because it is not good at that. The present government seems to be doing just that. But the opposition seems not to be having any of that. Mr Robert Corbin has signaled his party’s intention to go to Parliament to seek to stop the sale of the shares.

He had also said that the shares should be sold to the workers. It would be interesting to see if the workers can pick them up for whatever price the government asks—and the apparent asking rate is US$40 million.
If indeed the asking price is US$40 million then at the present rate, the government would have collected this sum over somewhere between eight and 20 years. With devaluations and the like, this money would be worth much less than it does today. The government may be wise to sell today.
Perhaps the government should release those shares to the wider public in the same way some of the commercial banks did some years ago.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

LIME, Digicel square off

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Following the first phase of liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in 2000, which effectively ended the C&W monopoly, LIME has complained of "monopolistic" behaviour (as has Claro) by Digicel, which has become the market leader in the cellular sub-sector.

LIME, which rebranded in the Caribbean from Cable & Wireless in 2008, issued a statement at about 4:00 pm yesterday claiming that Digicel had that day blocked calls from LIME customers throughout the region who were calling customers of its rival here in Jamaica.

However, in a swift response, Digicel charged that its customers had almost simultaneously began complaining that they appeared to be blocked from calling LIME landlines.

Yesterday, Office of Utilities Regulations (OUR) spokesman David Geddes said that the regulator was aware of the dispute but was awaiting detailed information from both parties regarding this most recent complaint.

"We have been aware of an ongoing dispute between LIME and Digicel since late last year," Geddes told the Observer. "The dispute centres on Digicel's interpretation of the Telecommunications Act and the OUR rendered an opinion on this which was that the OUR disagreed with Digicel's interpretation that LIME was engaged in bypass activities, and we secured an understanding from Digicel that they would not disrupt LIME traffic."

Digicel has approximately 1.9 million cellular subscribers; LIME, 660,000 and Claro, before rebranding from MiPhone in late 2008, has 220,000.

LIME said it would be filing an injunction against Digicel, claiming that both yesterday and on December 19 Digicel blocked 80-90 per cent of LIME's international circuit routes.
"LIME is of the view that Digicel is acting in an anti-competitive manner and is seeking to use its dominance to ring-fence its network," said LIME executive vice- president for carrier services, Lawrence McNaughton. "In addition,
Digicel's action directly affects LIME's revenues and its reputation with other international operators. The remit of the liberalisation of the telecommunications industry has failed if Digicel has the power to breach the law and is empowered to act as its own regulator, as it deems fit in order to circumvent the provision of lawful commercial agreements."

McNaughton added that he was unaware of Digicel calls to LIME landlines being blocked.

The accusation, however, has angered Digicel, which has called for a retraction, saying that the LIME version of events was "untrue".

"I am extremely disappointed at the outrageous claims made by LIME/Cable & Wireless today that Digicel has engaged in anti-competitive behaviour," said Digicel Group Chief Executive Officer Colm Delves. "On no occasion has Digicel ever engaged in call blocking of any kind or shown contempt for the interconnection agreements signed with LIME.

Furthermore, and as confirmed to us by the OUR this evening, Digicel is not in breach of any order issued by that office."

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Who will gain when GT&T goes down?

GT&T's cable has been deliberately cut once again. Who will gain from such terrorist acts against Guyana and against the company? The Regulator literally promised to give telecommmunication license to anyone if GT&T's cable is disrupted frequently - following that satement from the Regulators, we see more such deliberate acts of cutting poles and cables by persons and parties unknown. Are these acts a deliberate ploy to bring GT&T's service down so that license can be granted to those who are seeking such? And if that is so, where does it stop?

Following this latest disruption, there has been total silence from all quarters. Regulators, Government as one has voiced any concern.

PNC questions Govt sale of GT&T's shares

The PNC has called for an investigation into the sale of Govt. shares in GT&T

PNC questions the rationale behind the sale by the Gov't and is suspicious of 'who' would buy the shares. PNC will be conducting its own investigation.

"The PNCR and main Opposition Leader did say that the party was going to undertake an investigation as to why the Government would want to sell a source of a revenue earner."

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Sabotage of GT&T's cable

We are concerned at the spate of attacks on the cable that connects Guyana to the rest of the world. A couple of weeks ago (see blog post further down) the regulators and Government were attacking GT&T about its ongoing disruptions. Indeed, these disruptions are disgusting.

But, the significance of the disruptions is not lost on the nation! We have to question: "Who stands to gain the most from these disruptions?"

There is great concern also that neither the regulators nor the government sees it fit to investigate or condemn the sabotage.

See article here

Thursday, July 2, 2009

GT&T in low carbon strategy


GT&T’s Cellink subscribers have started to receive SMS texts giving pointers on Guyana’s Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) and directing them to its website; joining forces with the Office of Climate Change to promote the Strategy.

According to a Government Information Agency (GINA) press release subscribers would have received texts reading “Did you know? Guyana launched its Low Carbon Development Strategy! It saves the rainforest and supports sustainable economic growth. Visit”

President Bharrat Jagdeo launched the LCDS which is a draft document of Guyana’s potential approach to advancing economic growth while combating climate change on June 8.

The public can access the document and supporting information from the aforementioned website or from the GINA website located at

Comments to the Stabroek article:
Justice UNITED STATES says: July 1, 2009 at 6:11 am
Jagdeo need to stop flogging this dead horse. there is more to be gained from the proper management of our existing resources.

4 real GUYANA says: July 1, 2009 at 11:17 am
I don’t care about GTT’s efforts/support for the president’s ignorance (oops I mean initiative) and I am prepared to switch networks if they send that text to my phone.
Furthermore, I don’t even want to hear anything else about the LCDS, since I have not heard what it will do for the normal Guyanese, you know:

Like our teachers, nurses, etc many of whom do not make a million dollars per year after taxes;
Yet if they want a car they are expected to 2million and about for a reconditioned car, primarily because these vehicles attract 100% duties even though many of then have no less that 35000 km already on them. I guess no one taught our great economist about depreciation.

And are expected to pay as much as half or one million dollars for a 50×100 plot of land to build a house. While the state propaganda machines laud The grow more food campaign; I guess the citizens are plant in boxes.

Another president’s initiative, I guess.

I could go on……….

GT&T Hosting national squash championship 2009

GT&T is sponsoring the Senior squash championship 2009.
So far, as carried in Kaieteur News:
Top seed and defending Men’s champion Kristian Jeffrey and Nicolette Fernandes eased into the second round of the GT&T sponsored National Senior Squash Championships, after defeating their respective opponents, as action in the competition got started on Tuesday evening, at the Georgetown Club courts.
All the other top seeds advanced as well with little difficulty, except for Daina King, who was pushed to four sets by Alysa Xavier, before prevailing.
Jeffrey beat Andy Gouveia in three straight sets, while Fernandes, playing in the Men’s draw dispatched the young promising Nyron Joseph, also in straight sets.

Digicel's Summer Flex Concert - Elephant-man apologizes

Seems like our call for an apology by the elephant-man was heeded. He apologized during recent show in Guyana. "...he apologised thrice to the crowd for calling Guyanese thieves at his last performance."

Digicel with Wildfire Productions staged a sizzling concert at the National Stadium on Friday night. The show featured Elephant Man and Tanya Stephens. As usual with these shows there was a large turnout to the show as Guyanese love to have fun!

Digicel also launched its Summer Flex promotion with two new BMWs to be given away as part of its “summer promotions”.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Digicel Debt placement

New Digicel placement
Published: Wednesday | July 1, 2009

Digicel Limited (DL), an affiliate of Digicel Group Limited, on Tuesday offered up for sale an additional US$250 million of its 12% senior notes, in a private placement in New York. This will be used partly to finance future unspecificied acquisitions.
The notes mature in 2014, alongside another US$350 million already issued. The debt is guaranteed by 9 of the Irish company's subsidiaries, including Digicel Jamaica.
“We are offering an aggregate of US$160,000,000 of new notes," said DL's offer document.
Denis O'Brien, indirectly owns 95 per cent of our common shares. Denis O'Brien, who also controls 100 per cent of Digicel Group - ultimate parent of Digicel Limited - has since the company's formation in 2001 showed a marked preference for debt to finance the mobile provider, whose holdings extend across the Caribbean and into Central America.
Digicel Debts
Digicel Limited's debts, reached US$1.8 billion at March 31, 2009, or 2.68 times EBITDA of US$676.6 million. A portion of the DL debt, US$75 million, is owed to Digicel Group Limited.
Digicel Limited, a US$2.27 billion operation incorporated in Bermuda, also reported consolidated net profit of US$166 million from revenue of US$1.7 billion.
However, the company also disclosed that subsidiary Digicel Holdings Central America Limited has a big loss of US$176.6 million.
More losses coming
"We may continue to incur losses in the near future," the company said.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Owners of Telecoms companies in Guyana

A blogger on another blog site, is contending that a Guyanese parliamentarian is the owner of a telecommunication company, and that at the end of GT&T's monopoly there may be zero telecoms regulation for Guyana.

The blog post titled "Shiela Holder - Telecoms Owner" quotes a letter from Ms. Holder in which she said that "in a market economy, only monopolies need to be regulated". The blogger is contending that GT&T may be giving up its monopoly for that reason and that Digicel may have taken GT&T to court to fight for the monopoly to end since that would bring freedom from regulation.

According to Ms. Holder, I-net is owned and managed by her husband, She said, "my husband is an investor and the CEO" for i-net.

One would recall that in February 2009, Ms. Holder called for GT&T's monopoly to be ended.(see Stabroek news article).

The blogger opines that the future of telecoms in Guyana may be non-regulated, given Holder's assertions and representations for her company in parliament.

iPhone 3GS Costs $178.96 to Manufacture

"The entry-level, 16Gbyte version of Apple's new iPhone 3G S carries a BOM cost of $172.46 and a manufacturing expense of $6.50, for a total of $178.96," said Andrew Rassweiler, director and principal analyst, teardown services, for iSuppli.

How would this affect Guyana?
This would have no effect on Guyana as Guyana's import of goods and supplies come mainly from the counterfeit sources of the world. Cheap imitation phones, made to order, come from China. A majority of stores sell the imitation phones as the price of an 'original' phone.

Fabric, electronics, machinery all come from China, Singapore, Malaysia, India, Panama and other places. It is noteworthy that these same countries make the 'original' too, and then places the copies on the market. Simple things like handbags and shopping bags come in container-loads at a few cents per item, yet they are sold for 10x the cost.

The unanswered question shall remain, "how would the unsuspecting public know the difference?"

What is after Skype?

Intent...Business Intent, According to Lee Dryburgh, "the man behind the Emerging Communications Conference".
In an article in Skype Journal posted by Phil Wolff, there is yet more freedom to come in telecommunications - and that freedom is tied tot he intent of the subscriber.

Speaking of basic telephony, Wolffe quotes Dryburgh: "Because of the exceptional widespread deployment of the telephone, it’s century long cultural embedment, extreme ease of use and very low barriers to usage, it’s not going away in a big way, at any time least soon. It’s far too big and you’ve got far too much inertia in and around it.

However because its substantial list of deficiencies grows, what we are seeing emerging and what will gain ever further traction is software based voice-enabled, communication technologies. Interestingly voice may not be the “substrate” of these clients, “relationships” will be, both between people and things.
Second, we’ve got the economic model behind it. Even today, well over a hundred years since it’s original inception, we still have the same usage paradigms and economic models put in place at the time of the first electro-mechanical switches.
Now the keyword in all of this is “software.” Six years ago, the Skype software client was released. It was the harbinger of change to come. It called into question the need for very expensive dedicated underlying transport networks by pushing edge intelligence into the Codec layer to deal with less than ideal networks. It called into question the need for dedicated telecom hardware in the core network, by using the edge-clients to perform the work in a decentralised fashion. It called into question the inherent limited geographical structuring of telecom operators themselves; software does not face such physical and regulatory boundaries; distribution is relatively zero-cost; and worse still for the operator model, by it’s global footprint, it achieves unprecedented scale."

And what's ahead?

Dryburgh says that Skype is at phase one as yet, ahead is phase 2, the '“new” multi-trillion dollar market replacing much of what today is the multi-trillion-telephony market.'

Details of Phase II
Phase two is about intention-based economics. It’s focused on fulfilling intentions and desires. Another way of putting it is we no longer need to care about network availability (i.e. “dial tone”), and reaching an endpoint (i.e. A telephone).

Network availability and endpoint reachability is assumed. What we care about with intention based economics is human psychology and behaviour, both individual and in aggregate. I’m not saying we need to become psychologists and anthropologists. But what we need to build for is access to ever more personal information, i.e. about the human behind the endpoint. Privacy does not exist looking long-term. Ever more personal information is the new currency, which underlies intention-based economics, and people will increasingly trade it for free access to services.

If any of this seems abstract at the moment, think about what makes Google money, Ad Words. Google provides search free to the consumer in order to gain eyeballs (mass attention) and takes the search parameter to try and deduce intention. It then sells that attention and intention data upstream to advertisers. Google even has machines reading your emails in order to deduce your possible intentions and desires, which is why you may often find an eerily relevant ad above your Gmail account inbox. The underlying reason for the Android initiative surely has to be to gain access to better intention deriving data in order to sell upstream to advertisers.

Yet telecom networks receive vastly more human attention coming in from the edges and transit much more “intention data” than Google, in the form of telecom signaling. But it’s latent, not acted upon and thrown away. They actually throw away their most precious asset and plan to continue charging for their long-term least worthy asset (voice transmission).

To make the situation even worse, telecoms today is still charging downstream to the consumer, ignores money and wishes of upstream parties (like retailers, media companies for example). Because the telecom business model and regulation is pretty much hard nailed like the network itself, the bulk of telecom operators are not likely to be able to transition in time before other entrants move in who appreciate the new economics and who don’t have ball and chain legacy. New entrants and probably a third of telecom operators will transition successfully around phase two.
You’re probably wondering what phase two looks like from the point of view of applications? This is where things get very abstract and potentially the prose could get long-winded. But this is not to be unexpected since the foundation is in the abstract with the word “intention.” To try and get a flavour of the phase two application direction, imagine for a start that the demarcation lines between content, information access, entertainment, ecommerce unravel ever further and the result is intrinsically tied to an ever smarter fusion of more communication modalities. Now underpin that with attention and intention based economics.

Now dream a little.
As a follow-up:
Commenting on the above view,Richard Bennett said, "As always. "Intention economics" raises one of the problems with advertising today, namely the barriers it raises to doing what we want. Click on a link to an article, and before you can read it you have to deal with ads in your face. I don't want an ad jumping up in my ear before I can place a call, so this model has to go. And of course I don't want to be nickeled-and-dimed to death by service providers converting every intention into a "billable event." So how does intention intelligence get converted into money without pissing everybody off?

Concerned GPTWU gets assurance from PUC

GUYANA Postal and Telecommunications Workers’ Union (PTWU) President. Ms. Gillian Burton has expressed concerns over recent comments, in the media, on certain aspects of Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T) operations.

Speaking at a media briefing at the Lot 310 East Street, Georgetown headquarters, she said claims of GT&T not being able to put forward a positive business plan and sabotage of its fibre optic cable, at Loo Creek along Soesdyke/Linden Highway, might cause the revocation of the utility’s licences, constitute a threat to its employees who are members of her union.

“Any revoking of licences means that hundreds of persons will be placed on the bread line…and if you take an analysis of the tenure of employment within GT&T, they can be termed as long service employees,” Burton said.

She said GPTWU members, whenever they come within the employment of GT&T, remain committed and dedicated to the company and the country.

Noting that some of the worrying statements were made by the Public Utilities Commission (PUC), she said following a Monday meeting with its Chairman, Mr. Prem Persaud, he promised to cease publication of any material that will negatively impact GT&T workers.

PTWU General Secretary Mr. Harold Shepherd said both the GT&T management and the PUC have assured his union that no ill will bodes the employees or the well-being of the company.

“The GPTWU and its membership stand resolute alongside the management of GT&T in these challenging times of the company and, together, we will overcome these and all other challenges.

“We remain an undivided team in our commitment to national development. We will not allow any challenge to deter us from the path we have embarked upon, which is to successfully pioneer the enhancement of the telecommunication industry in Guyana,” he said.

Also present at the forum were PTWU Vice-President, Mr. Morris Walcott and its Demerara Branch Chairman, Mr. Vibert Adams.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Press Statement by Guyana Telecoms Union

Press Statement released by the GPTWU on June 23, 2009:

This Press conference is called by the GPTWU to publicly register our concern over the comments made recently in the media about the GT&T.

As the union that represents the employees within this sector we want to assure our membership and the public that we will not stand idly and allow hindrances to be placed in the path of the employees' contribution to national development.

The GPTWU having discussed with the management and the Public Utilities Commission these recent developments have been re assured that there will in no way be any ill will meted out to the employees or in anyway affect the well being of the company.

The GPTWU and its membership stand resolute alongside the management of GT&T in these challenging times of the company and together we will overcome these and all other challenges. We remain an undivided team in our commitment to national development.

We will not allow any challenge to deter us from the path we have embarked upon which is to pioneer successfully the enhancement of the telecommunication industry in Guyana.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Utilities Commission in Guyana

It seems like the Utilities Commission of Guyana is only a telephone commission.

Many people only know that this commission exist because of the recent press releases by the commission in which the commission airs its rejection to development of data in Guyana.

Is electricity not under the commission? Were they so strong on Power, we would have had a progressive Guyana. Nothing is being said about power. Yet blackout continues unchecked. The losses are amounting to billions. Even though there is blackout, the "electric bills" continue to shock consumers! Yet, nothing from PUC.

Instead they are bent on a path that seem to aim to stop the cable from coming to Guyana. So, in their minds - no cable, therefore no great demand for electricity, therefore no hue and cry about electricity! Keep the pressure on stopping the cable!

Good going PUC!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Digicel suit against LIME dismissed

Published on Thursday, June 11, 2009

KINGSTON, Jamaica -- Contempt proceedings brought by Digicel against its telecommunications competitor LIME and two of its top executives were dismissed by Justice Glen Brown in Jamaica’s Supreme Court on Tuesday, 9 June.

The Digicel suit named LIME’s Jamaica Country Manager Geoff Houston and Executive Vice President for Carrier Services Lawrence McNaughton.

Justice Brown also ordered Digicel to pay all of the legal costs incurred by LIME as a result of Digicel’s application.

Digicel’s contempt proceedings came in response to legal action taken by LIME earlier this year when that company accused Digicel of blocking LIME’s international call circuits.

LIME subsequently brought a suit against Digicel for damages and breaches of the Interconnection Agreement between the two companies and the Fair Competition Act.

Expressing satisfaction with the judge’s decision, Houston said: “I am extremely pleased that the Court has ruled in LIME’s favour. The contempt action was a wholly unmeritorious ploy by Digicel to bully LIME and as I have said before we will not be cowed or silenced. We fully intend to press ahead with all the legal actions we currently have pending against Digicel.”

As part of its case for an injunction, LIME obtained an affidavit from Jamaican telecommunications provider Claro, which led to Digicel filing a new action seeking an ex parte injunction against Claro (but which also named LIME in the Order) to prevent the use of the information in the Claro affidavit.

According to a LIME press release, Digicel then proceeded to bring contempt action against Houston and McNaughton charging them with breaching the Claro injunction based on an affidavit by LIME prepared before the injunction was sought.

After hearing submissions from LIME and Digicel, Justice Brown dismissed Digicel’s application and ordered costs for LIME.

Digicel issued its own statement in response to the judge’s ruling on Wednesday, 10 June.
“In January 2009, Digicel found that C&W/LIME had used information which it was not supposed to use in breach of a court order, which had restricted its use,” the Digicel statement said.

“In Digicel’s view, the breaching of an order of the Court is a very severe thing and, as such, Digicel decided to file a complaint against C&W/LIME because of its breach of this Order.”

The Digicel statement said the company had not yet been given the judge’s reasons for the ruling.
“Once we have had the opportunity to review the Judge’s reasons, we will then better be able to assess how to proceed with this matter,” the Digicel statement said.

The statement concluded by saying, “Digicel has the greatest of respect for the courts and for court orders - and is of the view that complying with these is of the utmost importance.

“We will not shy away from continuing to maintain this high standard; and, if needs be, will continue to bring companies that show little respect for the Jamaican laws and court system to court.”

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Was anyone misleading the nation?

Stabroek News reports on June 13 that the PUC said: "...there were significant disruptions to voice traffic, both local and international, and the data transmissions were completely disrupted."

Guyana Telecoms Watchers have received GT&T's response to the PUC - which is carried on this blog. In addition, the company provided its traffic chart to show the flow of traffic for the day in question (June 11) as compared to traffic on a regular day (June 4).

The chart shows that there was indeed no disruption to its traffic on the day in question.

GT&T as asserted that there seems to be "an orchestrated campaign to damage GT&T's operations and good will through planned disruptions in order to make a case for giving another carrier an international license?"

SMS agreement

SMS interconnection between GT&T and Digicel has been signed.

This has started flow of SMS from either party's subscribers to the other. The rates are as follows:
GT&T to GT&T: G99cents per text
GT&T to Digicel: G$8.00
Digicel to Digicel: G$10.00
Digicel to GT&T: $10.00

Each company would run their personalized promo on their own rates.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Power for health

Power for health! From this Blog:

No power in Guyana. Does this affect health services?
The acquisition of reliable and affordable power poses a challenge to many health facilities.
- This is the case in Guyana where the PEPFAR program and the Ministry of Health (MOH) requested USAID assistance in assessing options for improving energy services in health facilities.
- Full service district hospitals located on the coast suffer from expensive, unreliable, and poor quality power.
- District hospitals located in the interior face similar problems compounded by the fact that the power is intermittent, of worse quality, and from a variety of expensive sources.
- Hinterland health centers often have no energy at all.
- The expensive cost of electricity in Guyana makes the long-term operating costs of power intensive health care facilities currently under construction significant.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Enough is enough - by GT&T

GT&T has once again been victimized by the PUC's new-found practice of issuing press releases on Friday night making accusations against GT&T without first contacting GT&T to determine whether the press release is accurate. This is obviously an attempt by the PUC to seize a public relations advantage over GT&T by gaining press coverage in Saturday's newspapers before GT&T can respond to correct the record. GT&T does not know why the PUC is stooping to this practice, but the time has come to ask why.

Is the PUC pulling out all stops to prevent GT&T from following through on its binding contractual commitments to build the first submarine fibre optic cable to land in Guyana? Why do they seem to want to hinder a project that is crucial to Guyana's future, a project which GT&T has undertaken at its own cost and risk? We do not know the answer, but the question needs to be asked.

The PUC's threat to recommend giving other international licenses in violation of Guyana law and GT&T's license is disturbing. Does this mean that the PUC have given up on the ongoing negotiations between GT&T and the Government to obtain GT&T's consent to relinquish its exclusive franchise at the end of next year? We do not know the answer, but the question needs to be asked.

The PUC's licensing threat is especially curious since the PUC has no authority to issue an international license. Even more curious, giving a license to other international carriers will not prevent fibre optic cables from being cut in Suriname, which is what happened in this case. Nor would giving a license to other carriers stop unknown parties from engaging in a campaign of dirty tricks against GT&T to sabotage GT&T's cable facilities in Guyana, which is what also happened in this case. We do not know the answers, but these questions need to be asked.

To set the record straight, there was a cut in the Americas-II cable connectivity on Thursday due to road construction in Suriname. The cut was repaired in four hours. No voice communications were interrupted, as GT&T has sufficient satellite back-up capacity. Full data connectivity also was preserved for subscribers whose services included a redundancy feature. No national security issues were raised.

In addition, GT&T's services in Regions 7, 8 and 10 were interrupted due to an act of sabotage near Loo Creek on the Linden Highway where unknown parties used a chain saw to fell one of GT&T's riser poles carrying the southern link fibre optic cable. Is this the beginning of an orchestrated campaign to damage GT&T's operations and good will through planned disruptions in order to make a case for giving another carrier an international license? We do not know the answer, but the question needs to be asked.

Finally, we would note that the nation has experienced a series of severe electrical outages. Where are the PUC's press releases expressing outrage? Why isn't the PUC threatening to recommend giving licenses to new electrical companies? And what about the sewerage sector? We do not know the answers, but the questions need to be asked.

We have other concerns about the PUC’s public intervention on this matter, which we will raise in an appropriate way and in the proper forum.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Who's holding back Guyana's development?

Who's really keeping back Guyana's development. This Stabroek News cartoon captures it so nicely.
Who manages GPL? Who owns it? Who regulates it?

Is PUC a GT&T Competitor?

Seems like not only Digicel giving GT&T a hard time with frequent court cases and frequent complaints.
Now the PUC is in the fray. Maybe PUC is in telecoms business - or they have someone lined up for the business.
I don't think anyone in Guyana suffered any loss of traffic on June 11 or 12 or 13. So either the regulator is lying to the public or the regulator is up to something move....come clean reg!

Is this the same regulator that controls GPL? I guess GPL is operating efficiently!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

GT&T's response to Luncheon

Recently, we have noted reports accusing GT&T of holding back Guyana’s economy through its monopoly rights. We are taken aback by such reports because GT&T takes its national obligations seriously. As a company we are proud of the role we play towards the development of Guyana. Such accusations betray a disconnect with factual and economic reality.

It is difficult for GT&T to accept such criticisms when we are one among few Guyanese entities that, on an annual basis, continue to make substantial investments in a modern infrastructure. We are now building the first-ever submarine fiber optic cable to be landed in Guyana. This cable system will enable GT&T to provide more reliable services, and deliver substantially more bandwidth, at lower prices. GT&T is doing so at its own risk and cost (US$30 million). We are therefore disappointed, on behalf of our 650 employees, at such accusations when we have invested billions of dollars in Guyana and are proud to be one of the largest contributors to the national economy.

GT&T’s rates are the lowest in Guyana and stand at par with, or are better than, those rates in other countries in the Caribbean. A study by the International Telecommunications Union showed that Guyana’s landline telephone rates are the 4th lowest among 28 Latin American countries. Few countries in the world deliver a quality-to-price ratio for landline service that is better than Guyana and in many liberalized economies consumers pay 5-10 times more for an inferior service.

GT&T has a great vision for its continued role in Guyana’s development. We agree that competition, if implemented correctly, can bring benefits. To that end, GT&T has offered for years to relinquish voluntarily its monopoly rights as early as 2010 so long as the Government agrees to establish a permanent framework that promotes and protects infrastructure investment while resolving various remaining legacy issues. As everyone knows, GT&T has been in negotiations with the Government and we remain optimistic that these can be successfully concluded. We are also hopeful that whatever new laws and regulations emerge should result in positive growth for Guyana as well as for continued telecommunication investment in Guyana.

We need to develop a robust ICT sector. We all know this is a challenging task for Guyana because ICT growth requires, among other things, heavy long-term capital investment, a population with significant disposable personal income and reliable and reasonably priced electricity supply. GT&T has provided a modernized landline and mobile telecoms infrastructure and has indicated its willingness to assist in other ways.

Our new submarine cable project is a clear indication of our continuing commitment to Guyana's development.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

PUC press release

PUC on Friday 5th June issued a press release signaling unclear questions about GT&T investment in the new submarine cable. They issued the statement even though there was an arranged meeting between the two parties slated for 9th June.
The PUC statement and GT&T's response can be found here.

The planned meeting between the two (PUC and GT&T) took place on 9th June.