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Digicel takes GT&T to court over monopoly

11 May 2009

Digicel has filed a lawsuit challenging Guyana Telephone and Telegraph’s (GT&T’s) monopoly on international traffic into and out of Guyana. The court move challenges GT&T’s exclusive licence to carry international traffic and follows an aggressive campaign by the Caribbean wireless specialist for an end to the monopoly. Digicel referred to the exclusive 20-year licence as ‘unlawful and unconstitutional, and seriously hampering the full liberalisation of the telecoms market in Guyana.’ GT&T has indicated its willingness to negotiate on liberalisation, going on record as saying: ‘negotiation is the only way out of a negotiated agreement’. The government has for a number of years made no secret of its wish for the GT&T monopoly to be ended, but several efforts have thus far come to naught.

In a separate but related story, a member of the GT&T Board of Directors, Winston Brassington, has said that the government has formally indicated to Atlantic Tele Network (ATN), 80% shareholders of GT&T, its intention to sell its 20% share in the telco. ‘We formally indicated to ATN that we would like to sell our 20% share in GT&T and we are first offering it to ATN. Should ATN decline to buy our shares we would then seek to sell it to third parties,’ Brassington said.

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