Text messaging likely soon on cell phones

Stabroek News
April 29, 2003

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Cellular phone users could soon be receiving and sending text messages as well as email messages as part of Guyana Telephone and Telegraphís upgrading of its mobile network.

An application for the new value-added services engaged the attention of the regulatory body, the Public Utilities Commission (PUC) at a public hearing on Wednesday at which GT&T executives presented their case for their implementation.

The Wireless Voicemail Service (WVS), Mobile Short Messaging Service (MSMS) and the Mobile Voicemail Service (MVS) are to be introduced to the local market by June once approval is granted by the PUC.

According to GT&Tís written proposal submitted to the PUC, the company is seeking approval for the implementation of an installation and activation fee along with a monthly rental for the WVS and MSMS services.

The MVS has no activation cost attached but will incur a charge when users seek to retrieve messages from the stored programme.

Giving a layout of the planned services GT&Tís Director of Rates and Tariff, Gene Evelyn said that the company was looking for ways to improve profitability while allowing its customers to benefit from customised services accessible in other countries in the region.

Messaging, according to the GT&T presentation, is expected to allow a subscriber to receive messages from other callers even if they are in the middle of another call and cannot answer or if they are away from their instrument.

They will however not be able to receive messages in their mailbox if their telephones are off with the person making the call having to pay for using the messaging facility once there are four rings.

The receiving party would be subject to charges when they try to retrieve calls from their mailbox, which Evelyn said was a policy in place in other Caribbean territories.

The GT&T team comprising Evelyn and its Director of Marketing, Michael George and Attorney at Law, Khemraj Ramjattan, were questioned by the commissioners on aspects of the new features including the cost at which they are seeking to offer it to subscribers. Responding to a query by PUC Chairman, Prem Persaud about the costs, Evelyn said GT&Tís objective was to keep as many lines as busy as possible.

Eileen Cox who represented the Guyana Consumersí Association queried the time allotted to allow access to the mailbox while suggesting that it could be lengthened.

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