Radha Krishna Sharma, CEO of fixed line incumbent Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GT&T), has criticised the government’s inaction regarding the distribution of 3G and 4G concessions, claiming that the operator has been pursuing additional spectrum for advanced mobile data services for the last four years. Speaking to press at a media event last week, Sharma said that GT&T had first applied to the government for the frequencies in 2010, when it noted that the inauguration of the Suriname/Guyana submarine cable would provide ample bandwidth to support the technology. According to Sharma, the proposal presented to the government included field test data, economic analysis and plans for a rollout, but was largely ignored by the state. The CEO went on: ‘GT&T and [parent company] Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN) in September 2013, again formally submitted an updated request for spectrum allocation to the government of Guyana. While discussions are ongoing and we must respect the confidentiality and integrity of the said process, suffice to say that our plan was adjusted and updated based on growth and changes in the industry and market over a three-year period.’
The CEO’s comments also suggested that the government was holding GT&T back from the 3G/4G sector to realise its own plans to re-enter the telecoms market as a full blown operator – a long standing concern of the incumbent. Pointing to the government’s e-governance deployment, which prominently features state-owned 4G Long Term Evolution (LTE) networks, Sharma called for spectrum policies to be transparent, market-based and designed to support national development.