As DIGICEL and GT&T square off…
November 13, 2006
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While the ink on the MOU with the Government was not yet quite dry, DIGICEL acquired Cel Star and its U-mobile operations.
Cel Star has been trying to gain a reasonable foothold on the local market, but it was never comfortable with its giant competitor GT&T, which would have preferred to retain its original monopoly position.
We know that this attitude resulted in the Government having to postpone its information technology programme.
A few days after DIGICEL’s take-over, GT&T announced that it was not afraid of the newcomer.
GT&T disputed the company’s statement that the cellular mobile penetration is only 22 percent, and claimed that it is twice that.
Whatever the tension between the two, the groundwork is being laid for healthy competition.
This could only be regarded as a positive development in the telecommunications sector, and it conforms with the Government’s liberalization policy.
DIGICEL comes with a impressive track record.
Guyana is the twenty-second country in which it is operating since its establishment five years ago.
The company says it plans to invest US$60M to improve the cellular network in Guyana by introducing new features which has caught on in other countries.
It feels that the potential in Guyana is great, since the cellular penetration is 22 percent.
DIGICEL has invested over US$1.2B in the Caribbean market, and has over three million subscribers, and an impressive 100 percent growth during the last 12 months.
The company has given the assurance that Cel Star’s 100-odd employees will be retained, and that within a year it will need additional staff.
GT&T, which has had a monopoly on land lines and cellular service for many years, until the coming of Cel Star, now faces stiff competition from DIGICEL.
DIGICEL has made it clear it is not interested in providing land lines.
We welcome DIGICEL, and hope that the competition will result in a better service for subscribers.
And there is more good news.
At last the National Bureau of Standards has decided to do something about the inferior quality of many cellular instruments flooding the local market.
It is clear that selling cellular phones is profitable, and also that many who purchase these instruments are being fleeced by dealers.
The Bureau has put in place several measures to put an end to this racket.
This too is very welcome.