Wednesday, December 22, 2010

GT&T fearful of loosing its death grip on Guyanese consumers.

Brian Azore: IT is clear that GT&T is becoming increasingly paranoid and fearful of measures being taken, and rightly so, by government, to ensure that Guyanese get maximum value for their dollar and the telecommunications sector is transformed into a level and fair playing field for all investors.

The company’s new CEO, in a recent press conference, said that the proposed legislation that will soon govern the telecommunications industry ‘does not reflect an understanding of the challenges of Guyana and/or the telecommunication sector’. In addition, to being insultive, the CEO’s remarks do not reflect a willingness by GT&T to be part of a process that provides for the expansion of the industry and improved and increased service to its customers.

The reason for this is crystal clear. Expansion of the industry means more competition. More competition means that GT&T will have to improve and enhance its services and provide same at more competitive rates. For a company that has enjoyed over two decades of monopoly in the provision of the landline telephone service and close to two decades of monopoly in the provision of mobile service, this is a nasty pill to swallow.

GT&T believes, as reflected by the visibly upset CEO, that they should be treated differently from other investors in the sector. The sweetheart deal they struck under the PNC regime has given them this false sense of ‘a right to control the sector’. The company has a morbid fear of new operators, who incidentally, are merely providing a better service at a more affordable price. That is what consumers deserve.

The claim GT&T makes of expending billions of dollars in expansion must be taken with a pinch of salt. History has shown that in the case of GT&T, expansion and improvement only occur when a competitor enters the picture. A case in point is the arrival of Digicel. If this had not occurred, consumers would still be paying an arm and a leg for sub-standard mobile services.

GT&T needs to accept that gone are the days when Guyanese had to rely entirely on them for telephone services. In this new technologically advanced era, consumers have a right to seek the best available service at the most affordable price. If GT&T is losing revenue as a result of this then the energies and attention of the CEO will be better spent on formulating strategies to improve the company’s service, rather than indulging in a ‘cuss out’ of the government.

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