GT&T open to ending telecoms monopoly – Mahadeo

-denies pressuring gov’t for delay

GT&T remains open to the liberalisation of the telecoms sector, according to CEO Yog Mahadeo, who yesterday denied that parent company Atlantic Tele-Network (ATN) put pressure on the government to shelve key legislation that would break its monopoly.

On Monday, Gregory Dean, the CEO of the company’s competitor, Digicel, sounded its disappointment at the government’s deferral of two bills—deferred in the National Assembly in September—which were expected to end GT&T’s monopoly on international calls and other telecoms services.

Dean stated that no reasons were given for the deferral of the bills but he noted that it appeared that ATN was able to exert pressure on the government to cause the delay. But Mahadeo stated yesterday that neither GT&T nor its parent company exerted any influence or pressure on the administration and according to him, the company has and will continue to work with stakeholders on liberalisation.

“What we have done is that we responded to government’s invitation for comments on the draft legislation,” he noted, while adding that it should result in Guyana benefiting. “It must be a case where Guyana ends up winning; it must not be for the sake of GT&T or Digicel.”

Asked whether the deferral of the legislation may have been requested by GT&T for additional time, Mahadeo said that this was not the case. Further, as regards his expectations of the 10th Parliament, he stated that the company is open to working with the authorities on moving the telecoms sector forward.

Meanwhile, Mahadeo noted that the past year has been “average” for the company in terms of performance. He said that GT&T “has not done badly” and added that in the new year it will work towards overcoming its challenges internally, such as addressing modifications of its range of services.

He said that the company has invested millions of dollars into various promotional events and, according to him, while the company has not seen returns, it is focused primarily on integration and satisfaction of its subscribers.

“The truth is, we did not do the promotions this year for returns,” he said. “The reason is to give back, to give back to the community.” GT&T has sponsored a series of entertainment events this year, with its jingle and song competition alone racking up an $85M budget.

The finals of the English segment of that competition will be held tonight and tomorrow night the company will hold its Christmas evening of culture at the National Park.

On Friday night, a customer will also win a house as part of its ‘Text and Win’ promotion, which will be closed with a game show at the National Cultural Centre. Audience members will also go home with several prizes.

Also, on January 20, the company will sponsor a mega gospel concert billed for the National Stadium, at which Grammy–award winning American gospel singer Donnie McClurkin is expected to perform.

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