TSTT and Columbus Communications ink Interconnect deal

Telecommunications Services of Trinidad and Tobago Limited (TSTT) and Columbus Communications (Trinidad) Ltd, the operator of FLOW™, concluded an interconnect agreement on the 20th June 2007 to facilitate the physical linking of the networks of both companies, which will enable their respective customers to communicate with each other.

Although both companies offer competing products in the same market, Lisa Agard, TSTT’s Vice President of Legal and Regulatory said negotiations were conducted in the spirit of ensuring liberalization delivers tangible service benefits to customers. “The negotiations were very professional but I think both parties kept sight of the bigger picture – customer value – and in the end we were able to reach an agreement that marries our respective positions with this central concern.”

The agreement stipulates that TSTT and Columbus Communications will charge each other the same rate for calls between their respective networks. Agard noted that customers would be pleased to know that the mobile termination rates in this agreement fall within the price range set out in August 2006 by the arbitration panel established by TATT.

John Reid, Flow’s President and Chief Operating Officer said the company’s entrance in the local market right at the commencement of deregulation was deliberate. “Our experience in other deregulated markets prepared us for rolling out our services here and we are extremely pleased that TSTT diligently worked with us to complete this interconnect agreement.” Reid added that consumers and businesses in the country will benefit from a competitive market and that Flow is excited to bring innovative communications solutions to Trinidad”.

The TSTT / Columbus Communications interconnect agreement was the second of its kind signed by TSTT within the last week and the fourth interconnect agreement TSTT has concluded with independent local operators in the telecoms industry. Ms. Agard noted that deregulation placed a significant challenge on TSTT as the incumbent. “We must wear two hats. One as a facilitator for enabling competition in a fair and impartial way and the other as an operator in the industry trying, like everyone else, to successfully run a commercial enterprise.” She said the company felt proud of accomplishing four interconnect agreements within the past 14 months. “Liberalization placed TSTT into a totally new playing field. We knew we would be facing a very steep learning curve and we’ve successfully navigated it.”