DIGICEL Chief Executive Officer Gregory Deane says the company is not ruling out post-liberalization investment in the country’s domestic landline telephone service though he says that the first order of business once the monopoly comes to an end would be to move to reduce the rates for overseas calls by providing competition in that area. And while Deane has declined to speculate as to the likely drop in the rates for the overseas service he suggested that DIGICEL could do the same for overseas rates that it did for cellular rates when it became a local service provider.
Deane told Stabroek Business that DIGICEL was anticipating that the legislation that would mark the liberalization of the local telecommunications sector would be passed some time next month. “The wait has been very frustrating and frankly we can’t wait to get going,” Deane said.
The DIGICEL CEO told Stabroek Business that the company had continued to expand its local cellular expansion while awaiting the passage of legislation that would allow it to become an equal player in the whole of the telecommunications sector. “Work has been ongoing across the country,” he said adding that some hinterland areas of the country had benefitted from recent upgrading of DIGICEL’s telecommunications infrastructure. Over the next six to eight weeks the company will be establishing new cellular sites at Suddie, Rosignol and Eccles. DIGICEL, Deane said, is also in the process of looking for suitable areas to set up additional sites.
And according to Deane the issue of ending the monopoly was “a bigger issue than the competition between DIGICEL and GT&T.” He said that it was about moving ahead with the business of taking advantage of the liberalized environment to seek to ensure that consumers benefit from the kind of enhanced service that can derive from competition.
Meanwhile, Deane has given assurances that DIGICEL will persist in its posture of supporting developmental causes outside the telecommunications industry including sports and education.
Since its arrival in Guy-ana DIGICEL has invested around US$65m in the telecommunications sector.