Digicel moves to the courts to break the GT&T monopoly
Just twenty four hours after the Guyana government expressed its intention to sell its shares in the local telephone company, GT&T’s competitor Digicel moved to the courts on Friday to break the monopoly GT&T holds on international voice and data.
Digicel states that the twenty year agreement between GT&T and the Guyana Government which expires in 2010 is unlawful and unconstitutional and is seriously hampering the full access of the telecommunications sector in Guyana- since GT&T has the option of renewing the agreement for a further twenty years. GT&T has indicated that it does not intend to renew any agreement and is in the process of ending that deal anyhow.
Digicel which has only been in Guyana for 3 years, believes that customers must have freedom to choose better quality and affordable services, since this aids competition in the telecommunications market.
The Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company on the other hand while expressing its amazement at this latest action says Digicel’s action has nothing to do with customer choice, quality of service and price.
GT&T while noting that it is not unwilling or incapable to defend its legal rights on this issue said on several occasions the company tried to lower international call rates, but was prevented from doing so by the Public Utilities Company and Digicel.
The telephone company pointed out that Digicel is fully aware that negotiations between the Guyana government and GT&T to modify its license are well advanced.
In 2007, Digicel was awarded a temporary international license from the Guyana government when the Americas two cable was damaged. Once the cable was repaired, Digicel was forced to continue sending all its international calls through GT&T under an interconnection agreement. That agreement still stands.