Phillips says future of telecommunications bright for Guyana

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With the liberalisation of the telecommunications sector in Guyana, competition is driving companies to be more innovative and to improve the quality of service offered. Prime Minister, Mark Phillips, in observing the one year anniversary of the liberalisation of the sector, has assured the nation that significant changes will come that will increase job opportunities and improve communication.

October 5, 2020, marks one year since the PPP/C Government removed the monopoly in the sector within just over two months of assuming office.

This allowed for the welcoming new entrants in ICT and ICT-enabled businesses to operate locally. I also made Guyana a more attractive business destination and enabled the country to meet global standards with regard to ICT operations.

In a statement on Tuesday, the Prime Minister assured: “Soon, our country will see a proliferation of added Telecommunications Operators, Internet Service Providers, Data Centres, Call Centres, and Business Process Outsourcing operations – each of which creates an increase in demand for skilled professionals. These positions will be required to be filled by our local workforce, thereby creating more jobs for our citizens.”

He noted that the far-reaching and long-term benefits of liberalisation visualized by the Government will also bring a wider and more affordable list of options for citizens.

Only recent, on October 23 2020, by the requisite publication in the official gazette, seven accompanying Telecommunications Regulations became effective: Licensing and Frequency Authorisation; Spectrum Management; Universal Access and Universal Services; Interconnection and Access; Pricing; Consumer Protection, and Competition.

As a consequence, the competition was increased and all operators are now moving to roll out 4G, 4.5G and 5G networks.

“GTT has recently moved their data plan expiry rollover window from one hour to 24hrs. Therefore, a person whose data plan with that carrier expires say at 10 pm on Sunday does not lose a data balance but has the option to reactivate during convenient and normal hours the next day. This is a direct response to the prospect of more choices in the market,” the Prime Minister explained.

Phillips announced too that the Government is currently in the advanced stages of awarding another telecommunications licence for a 5G carrier.

Meanwhile, wholesale prices for internet bandwidth are being reduced and the new submarine cable to be landed by U-Mobile (Cellular) Inc. is expected to lead to more competition for international data and International Long Distance service, thus resulting in a reduction of prices, especially for high-speed Internet.

While acknowledging that more still has to be done, the Prime Minister pledged that the Government will do its part, working along with the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) for the monitoring of operators.

He assured: “Our Government’s intent is to provide for an open, liberalised and competitive sector that is attractive to new entrants with the expectation that this will result in greater choices, a better quality of service and lower prices for consumers.

“The journey has just begun along this pathway to developing our telecommunications sector, but we are optimistic about what the future holds. Moreover, this development goes hand in hand with other transformative changes that are occurring in our country in oil and gas. All eyes are on Guyana, and we must ensure that we make our country ready for the prosperous future that lies ahead.”

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