Telecoms service providers welcome sector liberalisation

Hours after announcing the formal liberalisation of Guyana’s telecommunications sector, Prime Minister, Hon. Brigadier (Retired) Mark Phillips handed over official licences to key stakeholders in the industry.

The simple ceremony took place at his Camp Street office.

Licences were issued to the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company, Digicel, and E-Networks. The documents issued were also handed over to the Public Utilities Commission and the Telecommunications Agency.

In brief remarks, the Prime Minister declared “the telecommunications sector in Guyana is effectively liberalised and is open for investment.”

Representatives from GTT, Digicel and E-Networks welcomed the move by the government.

GTT Chief Executive Officer, Justin Nedd noted that the company has been in competition with Digicel and E-Networks, and stated that the liberalisation of the sector is a good move.    

“We’re really going to accelerate the focus on our customers. I think it’s a bright future for the people of Guyana,” he said.

Digicel, CEO Gregory Dean stated that the move will see increased competition within the sector.

“Immediately I think you will see competition on international calling, increased competition on data service and mobile data service. I think all parties will be making improvements,” he said adding that the opening of the sector will possibly see more investors on the market.

Relatively new to the telecommunications market, local service provider, E-Networks is ready to bring quality service to the people. Vishok Persaud, the company’s Managing Director expressed that the move will see providers becoming innovative to meet the needs of the people.

“Now, the opportunity is here in a liberised environment. It would add the ability to what we have. Our networks are what you call converged networks where they can do voice, video and data. Today we focus on the internet mainly and video. So, I think one of the things we would have to evaluate is adding voice to our networks.”

“That is what liberalisation is going to do, it’s going to create a competitive environment. It’s going to allow the consumer to ultimately be the benefactor.” 

In an invited comment, Chairman of the Public Utilities Commission, Dela Britton, has assured that the agency will ensure the providers deliver quality services. 

“We, in addition to our other functions, which are regulatory, investigative and enforcement, we are really and truly the watch dogs for quality of service and we are the people who would be responsible for rate setting and because of this day, the whole pricing regime will undergo a drastic change,” she expressed adding that this is “revolutionary”.

Last evening, Prime Minister Phillips formally announced the liberalisation of Guyana’s Telecommunications Sector with the Government issuing the Commencement Orders to fully bring into force the Telecommunications Act 2016 and the Public Utilities Commission Act 2016.

Both laws were passed in the National Assembly since 2016 but were never brought into force by the previous APNU+AFC Government.

This announcement comes less than one week after Vice President, Hon. Dr. Bharrat Jagdeo disclosed the government’s plan to end the 30-year old monopoly that existed in the sector.

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