TSTT knocks Digicel’s misguided claims

TSTT notes with consternation, Digicel’s claim of being “singularly responsible” for the environment in which gains leading to the growth of mobile penetration in Trinidad and Tobago have been made.

It is the company’s considered view that while credit must be given for their role and indeed any competitor’s entry into any newly liberalized market, laying claim to being singularly responsible represents a serious disservice to the many entities involved in the local telecoms industry, including the efforts of the Government to liberalize the sector. “Those comments are extremely disingenuous in light of the tremendous amount of work done by many stakeholders to bring the benefits of deregulation to mobile users,” said TSTT’s Executive Vice President of Mobile Gary Barrow.

Barrow said that Digicel’s misreading of the UNCTAD report was not a good sign for their organization. “Their attempt to take credit for the country’s 46% growth in mobile penetration regrettably ignores the fact that this figure is an average for the entire period 2002 - 2006. For 4 out of the 5 years in that period Digicel was nowhere on the local landscape.”

Using data from previous surveys done by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU), which UNCTAD cites as the source of their findings, Barrow said that before competition came to Trinidad and Tobago, the country experienced much higher growth rates in mobile penetration. Data from the ITU clearly shows that T&T’s average growth rate in mobile penetration for 1998- 2003 was 67%; for the period 1999-2004 it was 75% and for 2000-2005 it was 38%.

“Digicel’s claim that its aggressive competition largely accounted for the 46% growth for 2002 - 2006 is clearly not based on any fact.” He added, “In one fell swoop the significant economic growth experienced by the country, and the determination of successive administrations responsible for the legislation that liberalized the industry, have been undermined and disregarded”