Breaking: Guyana’s Telecoms Sector Formally Liberalised, Way Cleared for Lower Prices for Phone, Internet Services
By Denis Chabrol, Demerara Waves
October 5, 2020
Prime Minister Mark Phillips late Monday night announced that Guyana formally broke the Guyana Telephone and Telegraph’s 30-year old monopoly on international voice and data, paving the way for fierce competition in the telecoms market ranging from cheaper phone calls to higher quality Internet and several other related services.
“It is anticipated that Guyanese will feel an immediate positive impact from the implementation of these legislation, which create a modern and competitive environment for telecommunications, and which will immediately result in greater choices, better quality of service and lower prices for consumers, while at the same time ensuring that all operators continue to enjoy all benefits conferred under the old legislative regime,” he said.
The Prime Minister said government has issued Commencement Orders fully bringing into force the Telecommunications Act 2016 and the Public Utilities Commission Act 2016. He did not mention what were the issues that had to be resolved before this step was taken.
He explained that the legislation specifically addresses the expansion of telecommunications networks and services into unserved and underserved areas through the institution of a new universal access/universal services programme.
Mr. Phillips said government would ensure that the “existing operators suffer no disadvantage whatsoever as they continue business in the sector.” He thanked all those involved, who were able to quickly simplify and deliver the complex task of liberalisation in the short time assigned.
Modern legislation, the Telecommunications Act, was enacted in 2016 but the minister did not sign the commencement order to bring it into force because negotiations with GTT were not finished. In fact, GTT and the Guyana government had signed a memorandum of understanding in 2019 to settle all outstanding issues before signing a binding agreement.