GTT still awaiting 4G spectrum – CEO

first_imgTwo years later– optimistic of competition in liberalised sectorDespite reports circulating in 2016 that Government had granted GTT approval for a 4G spectrum, the company is still awaiting this approval in order to bring faster internet service to its customers.This is according to GTT Chief Executive Officer Justin Nedd, who communicated this news during a press conference on Monday at the Herdmanston Lodge.Nedd was optimistic of the changes liberalisation will bring, and has said GTT has plans of its own to upgrade services.“Competition is good! Competition in the space of a fair and level playing field is absolutely great for customers and operators. It makes operators like GTT reallyGTT CEO, Justin Neddlook and ensure (there is in operation) an operation focused on the customer,” Nedd has declared.“I would say GTT has been moving in that space. We’ve upgraded the mobile network to 3G. We’re awaiting spectrum for 4G. We’ve rolled out Fibre to the Home to more than 50,000 homes. We’re working on our customer experience.”It is understood that, as at August, the company has expended US$20 million on its Fibre to the Home (FTTH) project roll out. And the capital expenditure price tag is said to be steadily rising.Level playing fieldThe CEO, meanwhile, noted the importance of a level playing field when it comes to the legislative framework. He, however, observed that for some time now, operators have not been playing by the same rules.“We would expect the same tax structure and regulations for the players. I think that’s very fair. GTT has been here for over 20 years, and I believe that we have a good relationship with the customers. And we will continue to grow thatPublic Telecommunications Minister Cathy Hughesrelationship. But in order to really work with the customer and make us prosper, we need solid equitable regulation,” Nedd explained.This framework, according to Nedd, must also include fairness when it comes to paying taxes. While he stressed that he did not mean the taxes were unfair, he pointed out the importance of companies shouldering their fair share of the tax burden.“What we want is: if we are paying one tax rate, then all the players in the sector should pay the same. And that is something every business would want in their industry… The sector is already liberalised, it’s just that some people don’t play by the same rules,” he said.It is understood that negotiations with GTT and the Public Telecommunications Ministry to lift the monopoly will conclude by year end. In January of 2018, it was reported that negotiations with the GTT and the Ministry to address the lifting of the monopoly were effective.These negotiations began in 2016, when the intention of ending the 26-year-old monopoly on the fixed line market was discussed. Liberalisation, once in place, would ensure there is fair competition and regulation among all enterprises in the business sector. It is, however, heavily dependent on the settlement of a US$44 million tax claim against GTT.Atlantic Tele Network, GTT’s parent company, made mention of this in its quarterly filings to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission, including a sum of US$5 million for an adverse decision against the telecoms giant.“GTT is also involved in several legal claims regarding its tax filings with the Guyana Revenue Authority, dating back to 1991 and regarding the deductibility of intercompany advisory fees as well as other tax assessments,” the report had stated.“The company maintains that any liability GTT might be found to have with respect to the disputed tax assessments, totalling $44.1 million, would be offset in part by the amounts necessary to ensure that GTT’s return on investment was no less than 15 per cent per annum for the relevant periods. The company believes that some adverse outcome is probable, and has accordingly accrued $5.0 million as of June 30, 2018 for these matters.”last_img read more