Illegal operators bring international calls using Digicel and GT&T networks

Dear Editor,

I am writing again about the telephone companies in Guyana. Last week my little nephew celebrated his sixth birthday.

These days our relatives are mostly overseas and on his birthday many of them  were calling us on my Digicel phone to wish the little man happy birthday. The calls were so bad that we could hardly make out what they were saying. Most of them called several times trying to talk to us. At one time I returned a call to my niece and then she was able to speak to us clearly.

I do not understand why in this day and age we still have to endure such poor calls. If my memory serves me correctly, Digicel said in their ads some time ago that they want to be able to have their own international service and stop going through GT&T. Well after last week I think that it’s high time that they are allowed to do just that.

I switched to Digicel because where we live the Digicel service is better, but it is like we say in Guyana, run from the jumbie and butt-up with the coffin because I still have to put up with the poor GT&T overseas service.

It is time that the government allow Digicel to have their own international lines. I wonder if when the government officials have to get calls from overseas if they have to endure the same poor quality service from GT&T.

Yours faithfully,
Parasram Persaud

Editor’s note
We sent a copy of this letter to Mr Terry Holder, Deputy Manager/Public Communication  of GT&T for any comments he may have wished to make and received the following response from Mr Gene Evelyn, Director Rate Making:

“Thanks for the opportunity to response to Mr Persaud’s letter.

“We understand Mr Persaud’s frustration and herein seek to explain the issues which may have led to his experience.

“GT&T wishes to advise that there are individuals who are bringing international phone calls into Guyana by a variety of means and utilizing the mobile networks of both GT&T and Digicel to distribute these calls locally to Guyanese consumers. The average customer becomes aware of this when and if he/she receives an international call ‘from’ a local cell phone number.

This illegal activity by these bypass operators hurts our image, as demonstrated by Mr Parasram Persaud’s letter, because these inbound calls are usually of very poor quality, but the recipient has no way of knowing that the problem does not lie with our network.

“As early as February 2008, we had sought Digicel’s collaboration in a public notice to alert the public to this problem. We had proposed the following notice:

“There are individuals who are bringing international phone calls into Guyana by a variety of means and utilizing our networks to distribute these calls to Guyanese consumers.

This activity hurts our image by degrading our network quality of service.  Also, when and if these calls are of poor quality, the recipient, quite understandably, is likely to conclude that the problems lie with our networks.

“Help us to preserve the quality of service you deserve. If a local GT&T or Digicel number shows up on your handset or Caller ID when you receive an international call, share the number with our Call Centres by calling Digicel Customers: Call 669-DIGI (3444) or GT&T Customers: Call 868-CELL (2355)
“Clearly, we must now ensure the publication of this notice.”

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