U-Mobile, trading as Digicel Guyana, reportedly owes the Guyanese government GYD1 billion (USD4.6 million) in overdue fees. According to Kaieteur News Online, the demand comes as the regulatory authorities are probing unauthorised spectrum usage claims that have been levelled at the cellco. Documents seen by the news site support suggestions that Digicel started using new spectrum within weeks of the country’s October 2020 regulatory reforms, which saw the introduction of the Telecommunications (Spectrum Management) Regulations 2020 – rather than waiting until it had received the requisite permissions from the authorities.
As previously reported by CommsUpdate, earlier this year Guyana’s Telecommunicaions Agency (TA) unveiled plans to award three 700MHz ‘mobile radiocommunication service’ licences. Guyana Telephone and Telegraph Company (GTT, 708MHz-718MHz/763MHz-773MHz), E-Networks (718MHz-738MHz/773MHz-793MHz) and Digicel (738MHz-748MHz/793MHz-803MHz) all stand to receive LTE-capable frequencies, but the conclusion of the spectrum award process remains unclear.
It is unclear whether the unauthorised spectrum usage claims relate to Digicel’s planned LTE network. In July this year Digicel Guyana CEO Gregory Dean told local publication Stabroek News that the cellco was in the process of rolling out an LTE network covering inland and coastal areas, with a view to covering 83% of the population. A commercial launch has never been announced, however.